An economic case study of the control of dog-mediated rabies by an animal welfare organisation in Jaipur, India

Prev Vet Med. 2020 Oct:183:105120. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105120. Epub 2020 Aug 14.


A global strategic plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030 was announced in 2018. The cost-effectiveness of annual mass dog vaccination programmes, as a control and elimination method, has been advocated on many occasions. Complementary methods, such as animal birth control (ABC) activities, have received less attention. This paper provides a case-study of a programme operated by Help in Suffering (HIS) in Jaipur, India from 1994/95 until 2016/17 comprising both ABC and additional vaccination-only activities. The availability of cost data alongside information on dog numbers, dog bites and human rabies cases provided an exceptionally detailed and unique retrospective dataset recording actual events and expenditures. Updated to 2016/17 prices, the total cost of the programme was 658,744 USD. Since 2007/2008, activity costs have been separated and returned costs of 10.78 USD per dog, both sterilised and vaccinated, and 1.86 USD per dog, vaccinated only. Over the course of the programme, the number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to premature death and the distress associated with dog bites was estimated to be 36,246 fewer than would have been expected if HIS had not been operating, based on a counterfactual scenario using pre-intervention values. Linking the DALY figure to the cost of the activities undertaken by HIS yields a cost of 26 USD per DALY averted. Discounted at 3%, the DALYs averted equate to 16,587 at a cost of 40 USD per DALY averted. Both cases make it a very cost-effective intervention, in relation to the threshold of investing one year's gross domestic product (GDP) per DALY averted (1981 USD in 2016/17). The monetary benefit from fewer dog bites and clinical human rabies cases requiring treatment amounted to 5.62 million USD after discounting, which, if attributed to Help in Suffering, yields a monetary benefit-cost ratio of 8.5. Thus, the potential monetary benefits greatly outweigh the programme costs, even without considering the DALYs averted. If a modest notional monetary value of one year's GDP is assigned to represent the human capital or production value of DALYs averted, the discounted societal economic benefit reaches 38.48 million USD and implies a benefit-cost ratio of 58.4. These economic analyses demonstrate that ABC activities in combination with additional vaccination efforts can be a cost-effective control measure for dog-mediated human rabies.

Keywords: Dog sterilisation; Dog vaccination; Economic analysis; One health; Rabies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / prevention & control
  • Bites and Stings / veterinary*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Dog Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dogs
  • India
  • Mass Vaccination / economics
  • Mass Vaccination / veterinary*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Rabies / prevention & control
  • Rabies / veterinary*
  • Retrospective Studies