Abstract for: Modeling the Dynamics of Canine Rabies and Policy Analysis under Uncertainty

Rabies is a viral fatal disease transmitted to humans mainly from dogs. Human deaths due to rabies have been increasing in recent years, especially in Africa and Asia where socioeconomic factors play an important role in the revival of the epidemic. In the current situation, it is unknown how the epidemic will evolve and which policies can prevent undesired futures. Therefore, the dynamics of rabies are investigated with a system dynamics model and several policy options are tested in this study. An exploratory approach is adopted to deal with uncertainties associated with model formulation, lack of data and the epidemic characteristics. The results showed a wide variety of future dynamics for possible human deaths, and following dog culling, human vaccination resulted to be the best policy to decrease the maximum possible number of casualties. However, when the cost effectiveness is taken into account, high rates of dog vaccination and high levels of human hospitalization upon exposure to a dog were found as the policy that maximizes the number of future favorable cases in terms of human casualties and costs. Future research can include extending the model with underlying socioeconomic factors and multiple species.