2.3.7 How should sampling be conducted?

Random samples from reservoir species are less likely to test positive for rabies than samples from surveillance activities that target specific animal behaviors or signs suggestive of rabies. Therefore, a targeted sampling approach should be applied [see section 2.3.5.].

Sampling depends in part on the goal of surveillance. To have a true grasp of the epidemiologic patterns, surveillance efforts should be adequate in space and time, meaning samples should be collected throughout the year (or active seasons) in major habitats used by the reservoir host so that spatial as well as monthly and seasonal patterns may be characterized. This information will be of value in planning, implementing and measuring the success of control (less cases over space and time) or elimination (zero cases after an appropriate interval) programs. Surveillance will almost always need to remain in place at some level to validate that control or elimination objectives have been met, and to detect possible re-incursions into rabies-free areas.

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