Dogs Health Cards N°23. The Rage in Morocco



Rabies in Morocco is a major enzootic zoonosis in the country with an annual average of 416 animal cases and 20 to 22 human cases. The reservoir and the main vector of this disease is the dog which is at the origin of the majority of the contaminations. Most Provinces of the Kingdom are infected with varying degrees depending on the density of the canine population and the prevailing sociocultural conditions.
Despite the efforts made to combat this zoonosis, Morocco still has a high incidence of this disease in animals. Indeed, certain difficulties encountered make the fight against rabies difficult especially:

The presence of a dynamic canine population (high turnover rate estimated at 30%);
The lack of knowledge of the socio-ecology of this population;
Inadequate information and public awareness of this zoonosis;
The need to intervene in several areas in relation to the fight against rabies, namely:
- Management of garbage and seizures at slaughterhouses;
- Management of the canine population;
- Human health (public awareness, preventive treatment of contaminated persons).

The success of control programs depends on:

Identification and elimination of risk factors associated with the occurrence of this zoonosis;
The rigorous and continuous application of the control measures envisaged in the framework of the control strategy;
Good knowledge of the socio-ecology of the canine population;
The application of continuous epidemiological surveillance of the disease in both humans and animals;
On-going awareness-raising and public information on the importance of this disease.


From 1986 to 1994, a rabies control plan was implemented, called the National Plan for Rabies Control. Its main axes were the vaccination of dogs with owner, the targeted killing of stray dogs and an epidemio-surveillance of this disease.
Several limiting factors prevented the achievement of the objectives set by this control plan, namely:

The existence of a large canine population in rural areas which is insufficiently vaccinated or inaccessible to vaccination, the displacement of which remains uncontrolled;
Lack of awareness and information of the population on this pathology and its mode of prophylaxis;
Inadequate interdepartmental coordination combined with unclear accountability of different stakeholders.
However, positive results have been achieved in particular:

Improved reporting levels of the disease;
Increasing reliance on laboratory diagnosis of the disease;
Production and marketing of a local vaccine;
Training of laboratory personnel in the diagnosis of animal rabies and generalization of the diagnosis of the disease at the level of all the regional veterinary laboratories.


Following the unsatisfactory results obtained by the PNLR in 1986, the Directorate of Food Safety (eg Livestock Department) developed a new rabies control strategy that took account of the lessons learned and results The evaluation of the old control plan, the socio-cultural conditions prevailing in our country, as well as the human and material resources that can be mobilized. Its aim is to reduce the incidence of rabies and its long-term eradication in the short term.
In addition to vaccination of dogs, this strategy is also based on targeted health prophylaxis and the identification of vaccinated dogs.



Implementation of the new rabies control strategy was gradual, in order to capitalize on the experiences. In 2003, and following the signature by the three ministerial departments concerned (Agriculture, Health and Interior) by the rabies control of the interministerial rabies control circular, the trial was carried out in 9 pilot provinces namely Agadir , Beni Mellal, Casablanca, Khémisset, Rabat-Salé, Settat, Sidi Kacem, Oujda, Khénifra. The objectives of this trial were to:

To test the feasibility of the strategy in order to readjust it, if necessary, before it is implemented on a national scale;
To test collaboration between the various stakeholders;
Evaluate the vaccination protocol and the human and material resources needs;
Evaluate the other components of the strategy (sanitary prophylaxis, deworming, sterilization of dogs ...).
It also aimed at vaccinating and identifying at least 70% of the canine population with owners in the areas concerned.
For example, initiation of the rabies control program in the pilot provinces began in December 2002. It consisted of vaccination of ownership dogs in rural and semi-urban areas, identification with collars, delivery of Vaccination reports to their owners and a serological survey of a canine population to assess the efficacy of the rabies vaccine used.
The rabies vaccination of dogs was carried out with an inactivated vaccine produced by the state company Biopharma. The efficacy of the vaccine has been proven and found to be in compliance with WHO standards by the OIE Reference Laboratory (Nancy, France).
The achievements of the medical prophylaxis during this operation have reported 165 110 vaccinated dogs, an average immunization coverage of 77%.
Although it was still early to analyze the impact of vaccination on the rabies situation during 2003 and 2004, it was noted that in the provinces where the program was implemented Cases of animal rabies and especially for the canine species.


As of April 2004, the generalization of the rabies control program was launched in all the provinces of the Kingdom. During the same year, a reinforced action plan was implemented by the three Rabies Control Departments (Ministries in charge of Agriculture and Health and the Ministry of the Interior). During this year, the achievements of medical prophylaxis reached about 450,000 vaccinated dogs.

Since that year, booster vaccination campaigns have been carried out annually throughout the country by the public veterinary services. The results of the results were as follows:

In 2005-2006: approximately 325,000 vaccinated dogs.
In 2007: approximately 268 000 vaccinated dogs.
In 2008: approximately 123,000 vaccinated dogs.