Research Summary

Bringing "OneHealth" to rabies research in India: Integrating animal ecology, disease ecology and human health

 Rabies is a wholly preventable zoonotic disease that kills ~20,000 people/annum in India. The failure to control rabies in India is mainly due to a lack of adequate knowledge about rabies dynamics in free-ranging dogs and the absence of an organized surveillance system.  This project will address some of this knowledge gap by using a triangulation approach of field research, laboratory studies and model simulations to understand the dynamics and potential pathways of rabies transmission among multiple hosts along the urban-rural landscape. I propose to integrate the fields of animal ecology, disease ecology, and human health to understand 1) whether rabies spreads from high density dog populations in urban areas to rural areas; 2) how rabies spillsover or spillsback from dogs to wild carnivores; 3) the effectiveness of ongoing vaccination strategies in combating rabies and 4) the scale of underreporting and treatment of dog-bite victims in rural areas.

 

Figure Legend: A possible scenario for the transmission of rabies across the urban-periurban-rural interface. Black coloured dogs represent susceptible animals, and grey animals are rabies infected. Red coloured animals are susceptible wildlife hosts. The dynamics of rabies transmission in these complex multi-host systems needs to be studied in detail if we are to understand, and then possibly control the spread of this wholly preventable disease. (Adapted from Belsare and Gompper 2010 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3956.5207)