Costs of Rabies Control: An Economic Calculation Method Applied to Flores Island

E. Wera, A.G.J. Velthuis, M. Geong, H. Hogeveen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rabies is a zoonotic disease that, in most human cases, is fatal once clinical signs appear. The disease transmits to humans through an animal bite. Dogs are the main vector of rabies in humans on Flores Island, Indonesia, resulting in about 19 human deaths each year. Currently, rabies control measures on Flores Island include mass vaccination and culling of dogs, laboratory diagnostics of suspected rabid dogs, putting imported dogs in quarantine, and pre-and post-exposure treatment (PET) of humans. The objective of this study was to estimate the costs of the applied rabies control measures on Flores Island. Methodology/principal findings: A deterministic economic model was developed to calculate the costs of the rabies control measures and their individual cost components from 2000 to 2011. The inputs for the economic model were obtained from (i) relevant literature, (ii) available data on Flores Island, and (iii) experts such as responsible policy makers and veterinarians involved in rabies control measures in the past. As a result, the total costs of rabies control measures were estimated to be US$1.12 million (range: US$0.60-1.47 million) per year. The costs of culling roaming dogs were the highest portion, about 39 percent of the total costs, followed by PET (35 percent), mass vaccination (24 percent), pre-exposure treatment (1.4 percent), and others (1.3 percent) (dog-bite investigation, diagnostic of suspected rabid dogs, trace-back investigation of human contact with rabid dogs, and quarantine of imported dogs). Conclusions/significance: This study demonstrates that rabies has a large economic impact on the government and dog owners. Control of rabies by culling dogs is relatively costly for the dog owners in comparison with other measures. Providing PET for humans is an effective way to prevent rabies, but is costly for government and does not provide a permanent solution to rabies in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere83654
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • parenteral vaccination campaign
  • owned-dog population
  • canine rabies
  • rural africa
  • coverage
  • program
  • elimination
  • prevention
  • ndjamena
  • thailand

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