Characteristics of dog populations and their accessibility for rabies vaccination were compared in an urban
and a semi-rural area in Zambia. A total of 1190 households were interviewed. In the urban study area
(Mutendere, a low income suburb of Lusaka) only 11 % of the households kept dogs with a dog:human
ratio of 1:45. In the semi-rural area (Palabana) dogs were kept by 42% of households with a dog:human
ratio of 1:6,7. In conjuction with the study of the dog populations in these two areas, immunization of dogs
against rabies was provided by door-to-door visits in both study areas and also through central point vaccination
in the urban area. The attitude of the public towards free rabies vaccinations was positive, although
some misconceptions regarding indications and modalities of treatment following exposure to suspect dogs
Approximately 50% of the dog removals were as a result of disease and the demand for dogs was higher
than the supply. Although only information on the owned segment of the dog population was obtained
during the study, the proportion of ownerless dogs appeared to be very low. Generally, there is a need
for better co-ordination between the different services involved in rabies control in Zambia to enhance the
sustainability of vaccination programmes and improve the treatment of persons bitten by dogs.
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