A bioeconomic model for the optimization of local canine rabies control

by Aaron Anderson, Johann Kotzé, Stephanie A. Shwiff, Brody Hatch, Chris Slootmaker, Anne Conan, Darryn Knobel, Louis H. Nel

We present a new modeling tool that can be used to maximize the impact of canine rabies management resources that are available at the local level. The model is accessible through a web-based interface that allows for flexibility in the management strategies that can be investigated. Rabies vaccination, sterilization, chemo-contraception, and euthanasia can be specified and limited to specific demographic groups. Additionally, we allowed for considerable complexity in the specification of management costs. In many areas, the costs of contacting additional dogs increases as management effort increases, and this can have important strategic implications. We illustrated the application of the model by examining several alternative management strategies in an area of Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Our results based on this dog population suggested that puppies should be vaccinated and sterilization would not be optimal if the spatial extent of management is not large (and perhaps not even then). Furthermore, given a sufficient budget, it was evident that vaccination campaigns should be repeated annually.

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