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The risk of rabies spread in Japan: a mathematical modelling assessment

  • H. Kadowaki (a1), K. Hampson (a2), K. Tojinbara (a3), A. Yamada (a4) and K. Makita (a1)...

Abstract

Rabies was eliminated from Japan in 1957. In the 60 years since elimination, vaccination coverage has declined and dog ownership habits have changed. The purpose of this study was to assess the current risk of rabies spread in Japan. A spatially explicit transmission model was developed at the 1 km2 grid scale for Hokkaido and Ibaraki Prefectures. Parameters associated with dog movement and bite injuries were estimated using historical records from Japan, and were used with previously published epidemiological parameters. The final epidemic size, efficacy of rabies contingency plans and the influence of dog owner responses to incursions were assessed by the model. Average outbreak sizes for dog rabies were 3.1 and 4.7 dogs in Hokkaido and Ibaraki Prefectures, respectively. Average number of bite injury cases were 4.4 and 6.7 persons in Hokkaido and Ibaraki Prefectures, respectively. Discontinuation of mandatory vaccination increased outbreak sizes in these prefectures. Sensitivity analyses showed that higher chance of unintentional release of rabid dogs by their owners (from 0.5 to 0.9 probability) increased outbreak size twofolds. Our model outputs suggested that at present, incursions of rabies into Japan are very unlikely to cause large outbreaks. Critically, the reaction of dog owners to their dogs developing rabies considerably impacts the course of outbreaks. Contingency measures should therefore include sensitisation of dog owners.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Kohei Makita, E-mail: kmakita@rakuno.ac.jp

Footnotes

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Current address: Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Division of Health and Environment Sciences, Department of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, 582 Bunkyodai Midorimachi, Ebetsu, Hokkaido 069-8501, Japan.

Footnotes

References

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Keywords

The risk of rabies spread in Japan: a mathematical modelling assessment

  • H. Kadowaki (a1), K. Hampson (a2), K. Tojinbara (a3), A. Yamada (a4) and K. Makita (a1)...

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