Owned and unowned dog population estimation, dog management and dog bites to inform rabies prevention and response on Lombok Island, Indonesia

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Abstract

Although Indonesia has been rabies-infected since at least the 1880s, some islands remain rabies-free, such as Lombok. However, due to its adjacency to rabies-infected islands such as Bali and Flores, there is considerable risk of a rabies incursion. As part of a rabies risk assessment project, surveys were conducted to estimate the size of the dog population and to describe dog management practices of households belonging to different ethnic groups. A photographic-recapture method was employed and the number of unowned dogs was estimated. A total of 400 dog owning households were interviewed, 300 at an urban site and 100 at a rural site. The majority of the interviewed households belonged to the Balinese ethnic group. Owned dogs were more likely male, and non-pedigree or local breed. These households kept their dogs either fully restricted, semi-free roaming or free-roaming but full restriction was reported only at the urban site. Dog bite cases were reported to be higher at the urban site, and commonly affected children/young adults to 20 years old and males. A higher number of unowned dogs was observed at the urban site than at the rural site. Data generated within these surveys can inform rabies risk assessment models to quantify the probability of rabies being released into Lombok and resulting in the infection of the local dog population. The information gained is critical for efforts to educate dog owners about rabies, as a component of preparedness to prevent the establishment of rabies should an incursion occur.

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Mustiana, A., Toribio, J. A., Abdurrahman, M., Suadnya, I. W., Hernandez-Jover, M., Putra, A. A. G., & Ward, M. P. (2015). Owned and unowned dog population estimation, dog management and dog bites to inform rabies prevention and response on Lombok Island, Indonesia. PLoS ONE, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0124092

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