Reemerging Rabies and Lack of Systemic Surveillance in People’s Republic of China
Published Date:Aug 2009
Source:Emerg Infect Dis. 15(8):1159-1164.
Communicable Diseases, Emerging
Mass Vaccination Campaigns
Description:Rabies is a reemerging disease in China. The high incidence of rabies leads to numerous concerns: a potential carrier-dog phenomenon, undocumented transmission of rabies virus from wildlife to dogs, counterfeit vaccines, vaccine mismatching, and seroconversion testing in patients after their completion of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). These concerns are all scientifically arguable given a modern understanding of rabies. Rabies reemerges periodically in China because of high dog population density and low vaccination coverage in dogs. Mass vaccination campaigns rather than depopulation of dogs should be a long-term goal for rabies control. Seroconversion testing after vaccination is not necessary in either humans or animals. Human PEP should be initiated on the basis of diagnosis of biting animals. Reliable national systemic surveillance of rabies-related human deaths and of animal rabies prevalence is urgently needed. A laboratory diagnosis-based epidemiologic surveillance system can provide substantial information about disease transmission and effective prevention strategies.
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