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Risk Modeling of Bat Rabies in the Caribbean Islands
  • Published Date:

    March 01 2020

  • Source:
    Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020; 5(1)
  • Language:
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  • Alternative Title:
    Trop Med Infect Dis
  • Description:
    Rabies surveillance and control measures vary significantly between Caribbean islands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends certain groups of U.S. travelers to any Caribbean island receive pre-exposure rabies immunization. However, most islands self-declare as "rabies free", and have never publicly released data to support rabies-free claims. We used the Analytic Hierarchy Process to create pairwise comparison values among five risk factors determined by subject matter experts. Risk factor weights were calculated and used in a geospatial analysis to calculate a risk value for each island nation (higher values indicate higher risk). Risk values ranged from 8.73 (Trinidad) to 1.57 (The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands). All four countries that have documented occurrences of laboratory confirmed rabid bats were ranked highest (Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Cuba, Dominican Republic), as well as Haiti. The top five highest risk countries that currently have no reports of bat rabies include St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, and Dominica. This study reviews the inter-island movement potential of bats, designates areas of high risk for bat-associated rabies within the Caribbean islands, and demonstrates a need for further surveillance efforts in bat populations within islands that self-declare as rabies free.
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