Investigating human behaviour following a dog bite

Rabies is a public health problem in Bangladesh and many countries worldwide, with exposure to infected dogs causing the majority of human cases.

In Bangladesh, a national rabies elimination program has started and a new Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) vaccine, the Cell Culture Vaccine, has been introduced and is available within 64 districts. People who have been bitten by a dog are able to visit a hospital to receive the PEP vaccination against rabies. However, in reality, the victims of dog bites respond in a variety of ways and every year an estimated 2000 people die from rabies in Bangladesh. 

A number of factors will influence whether a person seeks post-exposure vaccination, and whether those that do ask for vaccination actually complete the full course of vaccines required to provide suitable protection from developing the disease. This study is designed to further the understanding of the awareness and beliefs regarding dog bites and how to prevent rabies from developing after a bite.

View preliminary results.

Aims

  • To assess the incidence and epidemiological pattern of dog bites in seven study areas in Bangladesh.
  • To investigate risk factors associated with dog bites.
  • To determine the behavioural responses of people who are bitten by a dog, particularly regarding wound care, seeking of health care services, and behaviours towards the biting dog.
  • To determine factors associated with failure of dog-bite victims to complete the full schedule of PEP vaccinations.

Study design

This epidemiological case series study aims to recruit up to 800 people who have been biten by a dog and who are attending a rabies vaccination clinic in six districts over a 15-week period from April to July 2013.

The recruited cases will be interviewed by trained personnel in order to collect questionnaire data regarding the people themselves and the dogs they were bitten by.

Outcome

At the conclusion of this study, policy recommendations will be made concerning a national strategy to reduce the number of dog bites and provide the most cost-effective procedures for preventing rabies in people who are bitten by dogs.