Rabies oral vaccination of foxes during the summer with the VRG vaccine bait.Vet Res. 1999 Nov-Dec; 30(6):595-605.VR
The vaccination of foxes by distributing vaccine baits in the environment was initiated in France in 1986. Two campaigns per year were carried out: one in the spring and one in the autumn. After the spring campaigns, only 22-52% of fox cubs consumed vaccine baits compared to 75% of the adults and 70-80% of the adults or fox cubs after autumn campaigns. In order to reduce the period of time during which fox cubs do not have access to baits and are not immunised, a vaccination campaign was organised during the summer of 1992 over a contaminated area of 25,748 km2 where vaccines had never previously been given. Vaccine bait stability was assessed during the same summer in the field and their appetence tested on captive foxes. The efficacy of the campaign was evaluated by the relative decrease in rabies incidence and the rate of bait uptake by foxes compared to those from neighbouring areas vaccinated for the first time with the same vaccine during the spring or autumn. Summer vaccination significantly increased (P < 0.01) bait uptake by fox cubs (71%) compared with spring vaccination (39%), but no significant difference was observed for adult foxes. Moreover, the decrease in rabies incidence, measured during the 6-month period following the campaigns was less pronounced after summer vaccination (49% decrease) than when the first vaccination was carried out during the spring or autumn (79 and 72% decrease, respectively). Three campaigns led to an apparent elimination of rabies when the first campaign was performed in the spring or autumn, but only to a 76% decrease in rabies incidence density index when the first campaign was performed during the summer. The high thermostability of the Raboral VRG bait permits its use during the summer for an emergency campaign. For routine vaccination plans, however, the classical calendar of spring and autumn vaccination campaigns should continue to be preferred.