Med. Weter. 78 (1), 36-43, 2022

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HANNA O. OMELCHENKO, NATALIA O. AVRAMENKO, SIERGIEJ M. KULYNYCH, ANATOLIJ A. POLISHCHUK, MAKSYM O. PETRENKO, PAWEŁ S. SYSA, GRZEGORZ J. WOŹNIAKOWSKI
Rabies virus spread in central and north-eastern regions of Ukraine
Annually, 30,000-45,000 cases of rabies in animals and humans are reported worldwide. The aim of the study was to present data on the incidence of rabies among humans and animals in central and north-eastern regions of Ukraine (Poltava and Sumy) between the years 2007 and 2020. The statistical data were obtained from the anti-epizootic measures division at the Department of Food Safety and Veterinary Medicine of the State Food and Consumer Service in the Poltava and Sumy regions of Ukraine. Between 2012 and 2020, the largest number of bite cases in the Poltava region were recorded in 2012 (4,234 cases), and the lowest in 2018 (1,951 cases). The vast majority of bites were caused by dogs and cats that had an owner. During the successive years, the number of rabies cases increased. Between 2017 and 2019, over 50% of rabies cases in the Sumy region occurred in domestic animals. Although combating rabies among dogs through vaccination, as well as extermination of homeless animals, may reduce the incidence of rabies in humans, rabies in dogs is still not uncommon in the Poltava and Sumy regions of Ukraine. Moreover, rabid dogs in these two regions still account for over 90% of rabies cases and 99% of deaths due to rabies among humans. The red fox was the leader in the incidence of rabies among wild animals between 2009 and 2019. In the Poltava region, the highest number of rabies cases occurred in 2017 (10 cases), whereas in the Sumy region the peak if infections was observed in 2010 (42 cases). Rabies in animals tended to decrease due to the oral immunization of free-ranging animals. It is difficult, however, to assess the overall global situation of rabies using data solely on human mortality. Rabies is not a purely human disease. It is rather a disease that occurs in wild and domestic animals, from which it may be transferred to humans. Therefore, a more accurate prediction of its impact should include an assessment of its prevalence in animal populations, especially pets, and the costs associated with preventing the spread of rabies from animals to humans. Effective measures for prevention and eradication of rabies, as well as better knowledge, are crucial to check further spread of the disease. Obligatory preventive measures should include vaccination of pets and oral immunization of red foxes.
Keywords: epizootic situation, rabies. spread, humans, animals