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Keywords:

  • Rabies;
  • dog;
  • cross-sectional;
  • Philippines;
  • cluster survey

Summary

The Philippines has a long history of rabies control efforts in their dog populations; however, long-term success of such programmes and the goal of rabies elimination have not yet been realized. The Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Program was developed as an innovative approach to canine rabies control in 2007. The objective of this study was to assess canine rabies vaccination coverage in the owned-dog population in Bohol and to describe factors associated with rabies vaccination 2 years after implementation of the programme. We utilized a cross-sectional cluster survey based on the World Health Organization’s Expanded Programme on Immunization coverage survey technique. We sampled 460 households and collected data on 539 dogs residing within these households. Seventy-seven per cent of surveyed households reported owning at least one dog. The human-to-dog ratio was approximately 4 : 1, and the mean number of dogs owned per household was 1.6. Based on this ratio, we calculated an owned-dog population of almost 300 000. Overall, 71% of dogs were reported as having been vaccinated for rabies at some time in their lives; however, only 64% of dogs were reported as having been recently vaccinated. Dogs in our study were young (median age = 24 months). The odds of vaccination increased with increasing age. Dogs aged 12–23 months had 4.6 times the odds of vaccination compared to dogs aged 3–11 months (95% CI 1.8–12.0; P = 0.002). Confinement of the dog both day and night was also associated with increased odds of vaccination (OR = 2.1; 95% CI 0.9–4.9; P = 0.07), and this result approached statistical significance. While the programme is on track to meet its goal of 80% vaccination coverage, educational efforts should focus on the need to confine dogs and vaccinate young dogs.