Author(s): Lucas CH, Pino FV, Baer G, Morales PK, Cedillo VG
Rabies in dogs was unknown in the Americas before the arrival of the Spanish "Conquistadores". Until the mid-1980s rabies in animals and, in turn in humans, changed little from year to year, with the number of dog vaccinations reported annually rarely reaching one million. In Mexico, the national rabies control programme using mass parenteral vaccination of dogs started in 1990 with about seven million dogs vaccinated the same year. The number of vaccinated dogs exceeded 10 and 15 million in 1995 and 2005, respectively. Modern cell culture-based inactivated rabies virus vaccines were used. A key factor for the success of the dog rabies control program was the supply of potent canine rabies vaccines. Between 1990 and 2005, more than 150 million vaccine doses from 300 lots were administered. Each lot was tested for potency prior to use in the field. The required minimum content of rabies virus antigen for vaccines was 2 IU, in accord with WHO standards. Testing revealed antigen contents ranging from 3.28 to 5.59 IU. As a result of the mass dog vaccination campaigns, human rabies cases due to dog-mediated rabies decreased from 60 in 1990 to 0 in 2000. The number of rabies cases in dogs decreased from 3,049 in 1990 to 70 cases last year.