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Evaluation of integrated control of three dog transmitted zoonoses: Rabies, visceral leishmaniasis and cystic echinococcosis, in Morocco
The present study is a component of a major European research project, ICONZ (Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses). The objective of this component was to implement, and then evaluate an Integrated Control Intervention (ICI) against three dog transmitted zoonoses, namely rabies, visceral leishmaniasis, and cystic echinococcosis. This was undertaken in Sidi Kacem Province (northwestern Morocco) where 22 control and 22 treated douars (villages) were randomly allocated to two control and one evaluation interventions over a period of 13 months. Across the 44 douars, an overall total of 6922 dogs were registered, 4519 were vaccinated against rabies, and 2885 persons attended the complementary health education campaigns; whereas, within the 22 treated douars, 466 dogs received anti-sandfly collars (deltamethrin-impregnated) and 2487 were dewormed (praziquantel). Evaluation of the ICI, revealed that (i) a canine rabies vaccination coverage of 65.0% was achieved, (ii) the use of deltamethrin-impregnated collars for dogs provided highly significant protection (p = 0.01) against leishmaniasis infection of more than 44%, and up to 100% for dogs that had kept the collar until the end of the intervention, (iii) despite a non-significant difference (p>0.05), dog-deworming with praziquantel yielded a reduction in the rate of Echinococcus granulosus infection, and (iv) health education was successful in improving respondents’ knowledge; However, the target communities remained unconvinced of the necessity of changing some of their risky behaviours. Lastly, the estimated total cost of the global intervention, including its research components, was US$ 143,050, of which 67% was for disease control work with clear evidence of significant economies of scale due to targeting three diseases together. It appears from this study that the integrated control approach against the three zoonoses was effective on both economic and logistical levels.