Spatiotemporal analysis of canine rabies in El Salvador: Violence and poverty as social factors of canine rabies

Patricia Arias-Orozco, Fernando Bástida-González, Lilian Cruz, Jacqueline Villatoro, Eduardo Espinoza, Paola Berenice Zárate-Segura, Sergio Recuenco

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Background The incidence of canine rabies cases in El Salvador has decreased in the last decade since the establishment of intense control programs, such as massive vaccination campaigns implemented by the Ministry of Health. Socioeconomic crises in recent years have limited the access to certain areas across the country and have impacted surveillance and prevention campaigns, which places the country at risk for a resurgence of canine rabies.We aimedto describe the spatiotemporal patterns of canine rabies and its association with critical social factors in El Salvador from 2005 to 2014. Method We included 459 cases of canine rabies. Several socioeconomic, demographic, and surveillance variables were modeled using a Poisson regression to evaluate their associations with the incidence of canine rabies. Spatial scan statistics were adjusted or unadjusted with covariates and applied to identify statistically significant clusters of canine rabies. Finally, a canine rabies risk map was created. Results A positive association and higher risk of canine rabies were found for low poverty zones, where it is suspected that urban slums contribute to ongoing rabies transmission (RR = 7.74). Violence had a negative association with rabies (RR = 0.663), which is likely due to reporting bias. Significant clusters were identified in all five epidemiological regions, and the Eastern region had the highest risk (RR = 50.62). The influences of the selected variables in cluster detection were confirmed by the adjusted analysis. Higher-risk townships were distributed from the Western to the Eastern regions of the country. Conclusion Social factors are determinants of rabies in El Salvador and play a major role in national spatial patterns of the disease. There are high-risk areas for canine rabies across the country, and there were two persistent rabies foci during the study period. Examining the role of social factors can provide better insight into rabies in vulnerable countries, and socioeconomic factors can be key elements in developing better policies and interventions for rabies control.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0201305
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

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