Open Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 41, Number 1, January-February 2010
Number of page(s) 11
Published online 13 October 2009
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2010) 41:11
How to cite this article: Vet. Res. (2010) 41:11
DOI: 10.1051/vetres/2009059

A quantitative risk assessment model to evaluate effective border control measures for rabies prevention

Hsin-Yi Weng1, Pei-I Wu2, Ping-Cheng Yang3, Yi-Lun Tsai4 and Chao-Chin Chang5

1  Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana, IL 61802, USA
2  Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, Taiwan, Republic of China
3  Animal Technology Institute, Taiwan, Republic of China
4  Graduate Group in Epidemiology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
5  Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, National Chung Hsing University, 250 Kuo Kuang Rd., Taichung 40227, Taiwan, Republic of China

Received 13 May 2009; accepted 12 October 2009; published online 13 October 2009

Abstract - Border control is the primary method to prevent rabies emergence. This study developed a quantitative risk model incorporating stochastic processes to evaluate whether border control measures could efficiently prevent rabies introduction through importation of cats and dogs using Taiwan as an example. Both legal importation and illegal smuggling were investigated. The impacts of reduced quarantine and/or waiting period on the risk of rabies introduction were also evaluated. The results showed that Taiwan's current animal importation policy could effectively prevent rabies introduction through legal importation of cats and dogs. The median risk of a rabid animal to penetrate current border control measures and enter Taiwan was 5.33 $\times$ 10-8 (95th percentile: 3.20 $\times$ 10-7). However, illegal smuggling may pose Taiwan to the great risk of rabies emergence. Reduction of quarantine and/or waiting period would affect the risk differently, depending on the applied assumptions, such as increased vaccination coverage, enforced custom checking, and/or change in number of legal importations. Although the changes in the estimated risk under the assumed alternatives were not substantial except for completely abolishing quarantine, the consequences of rabies introduction may yet be considered to be significant in a rabies-free area. Therefore, a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis needs to be conducted before recommending these alternative measures.

Key words: rabies / importation / risk assessment / quarantine / animal

Corresponding author:

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2009