Spatial and temporal distribution of rabies in the northern zone of Tanzania in the period of 1993-2002
A retrospective study was carried out to investigate the occurrence and distribution patterns of rabies cases in northern Tanzania. Data on laboratory confirmed brain samples and associated case reports submitted to the Arusha Veterinary Investigation Centre, for a period of ten years (1993-2002) was retrieved and reviewed. A total of 98 suspected rabies brain specimens from different animal species and geographical areas were submitted and processed during the period under review. Rabies was confirmed using Fluorescent Antibody Technique test. Of the 98 brain specimens processed, 65(66.3%) were confirmed to be rabies cases. Canine rabies accounted for 73.8% of the cases and was in diagnosed in dogs (43), jackals (4) and hyenas (1). Rabies in wildlife accounted for 5 out of 48 canine confirmed cases. Most of the cases were from Arusha (20) followed by Arumeru (19), Ngorongoro (9) and Moshi (8) districts. Rabies positive cases in other animal species were in the following order of frequencies: bovine (9 out of 11); feline (5 out of 10); equine (1 out of 2); caprine (2 out of 2). One porcine brain specimen was rabies negative. The high proportion of rabies positive cases confirmed suggests the level of their endemicity in the northern region of Tanzania. Moreover, the findings highlights the need for sustained surveillance and institution of control measures among dog population and awareness creation particularly among general public and children whom are at high risk of contracting rabies because of their close contact with dogs.