Rabies is a fatal encephalomyelitis mainly transmitted to humans and other animals by rabid dog bites. Hence, vaccination programs are being instituted for the control of rabies in dogs. Though stray dogs have been vaccinated for years under various programs initiated for control of the disease, the effectiveness of these programs can be ascertained only by assessing the immunity of these dogs. With this in view, a study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the ongoing mass dog vaccination (MDV) program by the Bengaluru City Municipal Corporation, Bengaluru, India. Whole blood and serum samples (n = 260) from vaccinated stray dogs in 26 wards of 8 corporation zones were tested by rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) as well as an in-house quantitative indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA) for a humoral response and by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) ELISA for a cellular response. As determined by the cut-off value of 0.5 IU/mL of serum, 71% and 87% of the samples from vaccinated dogs revealed adequate levels of antibodies presumed to confer protection by RFFIT and iELISA, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the iELISA were 100% and 63.3%, respectively. The IFN-γ ELISA revealed adequate cellular response in 50% of the samples. The quantitative iELISA was found to be useful in large-scale seromonitoring of MDV programs to aid in the elimination of dog-mediated rabies.
Keywords: immune response; rabies; vaccination.