Antibodies against rabies virus in dogs with and without history of vaccination in Santa Maria - RS - Brazil

<div><p>ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the frequency and magnitude of neutralizing antibodies to rabies virus (RABV) in dogs with and without historic of vaccination in Santa Maria/RS. Group A included serum samples from 440 dogs with recent historic of vaccination against rabies, obtained during the 2015 rabies vaccination campaign. Group B included 300 serum samples from dogs submitted to the Veterinary Hospital of the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in 2015, whose historic of rabies vaccination was unknown. Serum samples were submitted to the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) to detect neutralizing antibodies against RABV. In group A, 70.6% (310/440) of the samples had neutralizing antibody titers ≥0.5 international units per milliliter (IU mL-1), considered an indicative of protection against rabies by the World Health Organization. However, approximately 30% of the dogs did not contain antibodies in adequate levels. In group B, 42.3% (127/300) of the samples contained neutralizing antibody titers ≥0.5IU mL-1 and 57.7% (173/300) were negative or contained titers below of the value considered immunized. These results demonstrate that an important proportion of vaccinated dogs (~30%) did not develop adequate antibody levels, mainly those receiving a single vaccine dose. Serologic testing of animals with unknown historic of vaccination revealed relatively low vaccine coverage in the general dog population. Thus, reformulation of immunization strategies - especially the recommendation of a boost vaccination 30 days after the primary dose - and extension of vaccination campaigns are necessary to reach adequate levels and coverage of immunity against RABV in the canine population.</p></div>