Deworming of stray dogs and wild canines with praziquantel-laced baits delivered by an unmanned aerial vehicle in areas highly endemic for echinococcosis in China

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Abstract

Background: Canines, the definitive hosts for the parasites causing alveolar (AE) and cystic echinococcosis (CE), are the main source of this infections playing the key role in the transmission. The ten-year mortality rate of AE is extremely high (94%) if the patients are not given sustained treatment. The aim of this field study is to explore the possibility of delivery of praziquantel-laced baits using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at deworming wild canines in the endemic areas. Methods: UAVs were compared to manual bait delivery in the 1-km2 test areas followed by testing of canine faeces using an Echinococcus coproantigen ELISA test in the ensuing year. The outcomes of the two approaches were compared with respect to time of delivery and overall cost. Findings: Compared to manual bait delivery, delivery by UAVs saved up to 67% of the overall cost. Three times more staff was needed for the former approach compared to the latter and, time wise, UAV bait delivery saved 350% compared to manual bait delivery on average. With regard to investment needed, the use of UAVs showed an efficiency 2.5 times better than manual bait delivery. Compared to the area served by UAVs, the average positive rate for the canine faecal samples was more than 38% higher in the area served manually. Conclusion: The technique of bait delivery with praziquantel using UAVs for canine deworming has a strong potential with regard to savings of manpower, time and overall cost in areas highly endemic for echinococcosis.

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Yu, Q., Xiao, N., Yang, S. jie, & Han, S. (2017). Deworming of stray dogs and wild canines with praziquantel-laced baits delivered by an unmanned aerial vehicle in areas highly endemic for echinococcosis in China. Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40249-017-0329-8

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