Elimination of fox rabies from Belgium using a recombinant vaccinia-rabies vaccine: an update.Vet Microbiol. 1995 Sep; 46(1-3):269-79.VM
To improve both safety and stability of the vaccines used in the field to vaccinate foxes against rabies by the oral route, a recombinant vaccinia virus, expressing the glycoprotein of rabies virus (VVTGgRAB) has been developed. VVTGgRAB innocuity was verified in target species and in domestic animals as well as in numerous wild animal species that could compete with the red fox in consuming vaccine baits in Europe. Oral immunization of foxes, by distributing VVTGgRAB vaccine-baits, was undertaken in the whole of the infected area of Belgium (10,000 km2). Five campaigns of fox vaccination covering the whole infected area were carried out from the autumn of 1989 until 1991. Each time, 150,000 vaccine-baits were dispersed by air at a mean density of 15 per km2. These campaigns induced a drastic decrease in the incidence of rabies and the elimination of the disease from 80% of the initial infected area. Regarding the geographical evolution of rabies in Belgium and in adjacent regions in neighbouring countries, new spatial strategies for bait dispersal were planned for 1992, 1993 and 1994: successive restricted campaigns were carried out along political borders only. These campaigns induced a new decrease of incidence; no rabid foxes could be detected in 1993 in spite of an improved epidemiological surveillance. In 1994, rabies was confirmed again in 13 foxes collected in a region situated close to the French border. These cases demonstrate the persistence of a focus of rabies on the border and justify further restricted campaigns of vaccination.