1. Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206, China 2. Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China 3. Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206, China 4. State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China
To analyze features of the rabies epidemic in China between 2007 and 2011, identify factors influencing the epidemic and to provide a scientific basis for further control and prevention of rabies, Descriptive epidemiological methods and statistical analysis was used on data collected from the National Disease Reporting Information System between 2007 to 2011 and the National Active Surveillance System between 2007 and 2010. Our analysis shows that while the number of human rabies cases decreased year by year, the number of districts reporting cases did not show significant change. The situations in Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou and Hunan provinces clearly improved over the period but they remain provinces with high-incidence, and consequently influence the epidemic situation of surrounding provinces and possibly the whole country. Summer and autumn were high-incidence seasons. Farmers, students and pre-school children represent the high-risk populations, and rates of cases in farmers increased, those for students decreased, and pre-school children remained unchanged. Provinces with active surveillance programs reported a total of 2346 individual cases, of which 88.53% were associated with canines. Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) of rabies cases was not significantly improved, whereas PEP in post-exposure population was good. In rural regions of China, canine density was reduced somewhat, and the immunization rate increased slightly. Finally we show that while the epidemic decreased 2007 to 2011 in China, cases continued to be diffused in certain regions. Lack of standardization of PEP on rabies cases was the main reason of morbidity. The high density and low immunization of dog in rural areas and the defective situation of PEP are still continuous occurrences in China and remain a cause for concern.