Development of a high number, high coverage dog rabies vaccination programme in Sri Lanka

Carlos Sánchez-Soriano, Andrew D Gibson, Luke Gamble, Jordana L Burdon Bailey, Samantha Green, Mark Green, Barend M deC Bronsvoort, Ian G Handel, Richard J Mellanby, Stella Mazeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Rabies is estimated to cause 59,000 deaths and economic losses of US$8.6 billion every year. Despite several years of rabies surveillance and awareness programmes, increased availability of post-exposure prophylaxis vaccinations and dog population control, the disease still remains prevalent in Sri Lanka. This study reports the roll-out of a high number, high coverage canine rabies vaccination campaign in Sri Lanka, providing estimates for the vaccination coverage achieved, analysing the local dog demographics, and identifying barriers of attendance to static vaccination clinics.

METHODS: A mass dog vaccination campaign was undertaken in Negombo, Sri Lanka. The campaign was composed of static point and door-to-door vaccination stages, with a final survey of vaccination coverage. A large volume of data on the distribution, health, and signalment of vaccinated dogs was collected through a mobile phone application. A logistic regression model was developed to investigate which socio-spatial and dog-related factors influenced attendance of owners to static vaccination points.

RESULTS: The campaign vaccinated over 7800 dogs achieving a vaccination coverage of 75.8%. A dog:human ratio of 1:17 was estimated. Most dogs were owned, and the dog population was mostly male, adult, and non-sterilized. Unawareness, unavailability and handling problems were the most common reasons given by owners to explain failure to attend a static vaccination point. The regression analysis showed that increasing distance to a static point, in addition to young age and poor health of the dog, were associated with a decrease in the likelihood of attendance to a static vaccination points.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the feasibility of high number, high coverage vaccination campaigns in Sri Lanka. The information on dog ecology and barriers of attendance to static point vaccination clinics will facilitate development of future vaccination campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2019


  • Rabies
  • Dogs
  • Sri Lanka
  • Vaccination
  • Mobile phone application
  • Coverage


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