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Long-range movements coupled with heterogeneous incubation period sustain dog rabies at the national scale in Africa

Abstract : Dog-transmitted rabies is responsible for more than 98% of human cases worldwide, remaining a persistent problem in developing countries. Mass vaccination targets predominantly major cities, often compromising disease control due to re-introductions. Previous work suggested that areas neighboring cities may behave as the source of these re-introductions. To evaluate this hypothesis, we introduce a spatially explicit metapopulation model for rabies diffusion in Central African Republic. Calibrated on epidemiological data for the capital city, Bangui, the model predicts that long-range movements are essential for continuous re-introductions of rabies-exposed dogs across settlements, eased by the large fluctuations of the incubation period. Bangui's neighborhood, instead, would not be enough to self-sustain the epidemic, contrary to previous expectations. Our findings suggest that restricting long-range travels may be very efficient in limiting rabies persistence in a large and fragmented dog population. Our framework can be applied to other geographical contexts where dog rabies is endemic.
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Davide Colombi, Chiara Poletto, Emmanuel Nakouné, Hervé Bourhy, Vittoria Colizza. Long-range movements coupled with heterogeneous incubation period sustain dog rabies at the national scale in Africa. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science, 2020, 14 (5), pp.e0008317. ⟨10.1371/journal.pntd.0008317⟩. ⟨inserm-02910866⟩

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