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Mattsson, Lisa, 2023. Antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs : a field study on rabies in dogs in Laos. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences

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Abstract

Rabies is a viral, zoonotic disease caused by a rhabdovirus. Most rabies cases occur in wild animals
such as bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks, however, any mammal can get the infection. 99% of all
human cases are caused by bites from rabid dogs. Vaccination of dogs is the most effective way to
prevent rabies in people. Each year, approximately 55,000 people die from rabies, and more than
95% of these mortalities take place in Asia and Africa.
According to previous research, rabies is 100% fatal once clinical symptoms have shown. However,
studies have now shown apparently healthy, non-rabies vaccinated dogs, other domestic animals,
and other wild mammals seropositive for rabies in Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Haiti, and the US among
other countries.
This study was conducted in Bolikhamsai province, Vientiane province, and Vientiane capital in
Laos. Rabies antibody levels in apparently healthy and non-rabies-vaccinated dogs were
investigated in order to identify dogs that may have been exposed to the rabies virus and survived.
Our study found 35.6% seropositivity for rabies antibodies in Laos, which is a noticeably higher
percentage than in an earlier study in Laos where they found 23.7% seropositivity (Fogelberg 2020).
The results are also significantly higher compared to other studies in Kenya, Nigeria, and Haiti
where they found 20%, 16.1%, and 9.3% seropositivity, respectively (Wosu & Anyanwu 1990;
Kitala et al. 2001; Smith et al. 2019).
When using the lab method for rabies antibodies, there is no way of knowing if these antibodies
derive from rabies infection or rabies vaccination. If the measured antibodies in this study do derive
from a previous rabies infection and not rabies vaccination, this means that there are many dogs in
Laos that survive rabies infection, many more than previously thought.
Even though this study does not provide absolute proof, it contributes to the research on rabies and
its serological responses. In conclusion, further research and work need to be done both in Laos and
more importantly, in other countries. This is to receive a deeper understanding of the serological
levels of rabies antibodies in apparently healthy and non-rabies-vaccinated dogs, and therefore
continue to challenge the previous belief that rabies is a 100% deadly disease once clinical symptoms
have shown.

Main title:Antibodies in non-vaccinated dogs
Subtitle:a field study on rabies in dogs in Laos
Authors:Mattsson, Lisa
Supervisor:Lindahl, Johanna and Johansson Wensman, Jonas and Vannaphone, Putthana
Examiner:Blomström, Anne-Lie
Series:UNSPECIFIED
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Keywords:Rabies, neglected zoonoses, serology, Laos, canines, ELISA
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-18693
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-18693
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal diseases
Language:English
Deposited On:17 Mar 2023 06:36
Metadata Last Modified:23 Mar 2023 02:00

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