Rabies could be eradicated from street dogs in India with the help of a new smartphone app, a study has shown.
Researchers are using the app to track free-roaming dogs that have been vaccinated against rabies.
Monitoring them in this way has enabled vets to vaccinate 70 per cent of the dog population in the City of Ranchi – the threshold needed to minimise the risk that the disease is passed to people.
Adopting the approach more widely could help to eliminate rabies from people and animals, the researchers say.
Teams vaccinated more than 6000 dogs in 18 districts of the city of Ranchi, India.
They surveyed the number of marked, vaccinated and unmarked, unvaccinated dogs to monitor the proportion of animals that had received the vaccine.
A bespoke smartphone app – called the Mission Rabies app – was developed for researchers to instantly upload information about the animals vaccinated, including their exact location.
In areas where coverage fell below 70 per cent, catching teams were re-deployed to vaccinate more dogs until the target was achieved.
Learn more: Dog study shapes plan to wipe out rabies