Rabies control in the developing world: Results of a cross-sectional study in Bohol, Philippines

Stacy Lee Davlin, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Rabies remains a significant problem in much of the developed world, where canine rabies is not well controlled, and the bite of an infected dog is the most common means of transmission. The Philippines continues to report several hundred cases of human rabies every year, and many more cases go undetected. In recent years, the province of Bohol has been targeted by the Philippine government and the World Health Organization for a rabies eradication program. The primary objective of this dissertation research was to describe factors associated with dog vaccination coverage and knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding rabies among households in Bohol, Philippines. Utilizing a cross-sectional cluster survey design, we sampled 460 households and 541 dogs residing within dog-owning households. Multivariate linear regression was used to examine potential associations between knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) and variables of interest. Forty-six percent of households knew that rabies was spread through the bite of an infected dog. The mean knowledge score was 8.36 (SD: ± 3.4; range: 1–24). We found that having known someone with rabies was significantly associated with an almost one point increase in the knowledge score (β = 0.88; p = 0.02). The mean attitudes score was 5.65 (SD: ± 0.63; range: 2–6), and the mean practices score was 7.07 (SD: ± 1.7; range: 2–9). Both the attitudes score and the practices score were positively and significantly associated with only the knowledge score and no other covariates. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine associations between dog vaccination coverage and variables of interest. Approximately 71% of owned dogs in Bohol were reported as vaccinated at some time during their lives. We found that a dog's age was significantly associated with vaccination, and the odds of vaccination increased in a linear fashion with age. We also found that dogs had approximately twice the odds of being vaccinated if they were confined both day and night to the household premises or if the owner was employed; however, these results were only marginally significant (p = 0.07) in the multivariate model. Finally, a systematic review was conducted on canine rabies vaccination and dog population demographics in the developing world. We found few studies on this topic, especially in countries where the burden of rabies is greatest. Overall, dog ownership is high. Dogs are quite young and do not live very long due to disease and accidents. The biggest deterrent to vaccination is the rapid dog population turnover. It is our hope that this work will be used to improve dog rabies vaccination programs around the world and save lives, both human and canine.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Davlin, Stacy Lee, "Rabies control in the developing world: Results of a cross-sectional study in Bohol, Philippines" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3499574.