Geographical information systems in the management of the 2009-2010 emergency oral anti-rabies vaccination of foxes in north-eastern Italy.Geospat Health. 2011 May; 5(2):217-26.GH
Emergency oral fox vaccination campaigns, targeting a recent rabies epidemic in wild foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in north-eastern Italy, were implemented twice, first in the winter of 2009 and then in the spring of 2010. Following on an unsuccessful manual bait distribution campaign, vaccine baits were aerially distributed by helicopters using a satellite-navigated, computer-supported, automatic bait drop system. The flight paths were traced with distance of 500-1,000 m from one another to optimise helicopter missions and guarantee homogeneous coverage of the vaccination area. The vaccine distribution was evaluated by superimposing a 1 km-step grid and weighing the number of baits per cell. The implementation of a geographical information system for the management of vaccine distribution proved to be useful, both for the planning and execution phases, of the campaigns. It supported effective management of the flights and allowed near real-time monitoring of the campaigns. In addition, it facilitated the identification of areas with suboptimal bait density that would require additional flights or supplementary, manual distribution.