In the city of Arequipa, Peru, a rabid dog was detected in March 2015, marking the reintroduction of the rabies virus in the area; more rabid dogs have been detected since then. The presence of free-roaming dogs in Arequipa seems to be higher in dry water channels, which are widespread in the city. We created a geographic information system (GIS) with surveillance data on the location of rabid dogs detected during the first year of the outbreak, as well as the water channels. We conducted a spatial analysis using Monte Carlo simulations to determine if detected rabid dogs were closer to the water channels than expected. Thirty rabid dogs were detected during the first year of the outbreak, and they were statistically associated with the water channels (average distance to closest water channel = 334 m; p-value = 0.027). Water channels might play a role in the ecology of free-roaming dog populations, functioning as ecological corridors. Landscape ecology could assist in understanding the impact of these urban structures on control activities and the persistence of transmission.
Keywords: GIS; Monte Carlo method; dogs; geographical information system; rabies; spatial analysis; zoonosis.