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Volume 15, Number 8—August 2009


Tactics and Economics of Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination, Canada and the United States

Ray T. SternerComments to Author , Martin I. Meltzer, Stephanie A. Shwiff, and Dennis Slate
Author affiliations: US Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (R.T. Sterner, S.A. Shwiff); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (M.I. Meltzer); US Department of Agriculture, Concord, New Hampshire, USA (D. Slate)

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Table 1

Major oral rabies vaccination campaigns, Canada and the United States

Country and reference Strategy or tactic Duration, y Target
species Unit bait cost* Target bait
Density, no./km2 ORV, TVR, or PIC area, km2/y† Cost/km2
(9) ORV progressive elimination >7§ Red fox Not reported 18–20 8,850–31,460 No estimate
(10) TVR Skunk, raccoon, red fox >$2.00 (Can$ 1991) 20/den
fox only 60 $450–$1,150 (Can$ in 1991)
>$2.00 (Can$)
225 PR, 485 TVR, 1,200 ORV
(Can$ in 1999)
United States§
D. Slate, unpub.
 data (2007) ORV zone (Appalachian Ridge) >1§ Raccoon $1.22 (US$) 50–75 28,659–84,225 $108
(US$ in 2007)
(26) ORV zone (Ohio–Pennsylvania border) Raccoon $1.37–$1.52 (US$) 75 3,872–6,497 $153; range $102–$262
(US$ in 1999)¶
(17) ORV progressive elimination >9§ Coyote Not reported 19–27 38,850 $42
(US$ in 2004)#
(17) ORV progressive elimination >8§ Gray fox Not reported 27–39 56,202 $42
(US$ in 2004)#

*Unless otherwise noted, costs are in Can$ or US$. No discounting for inflation was used; this article and Technical Appendix 2 provide inflation-corrected costs in 2008 Can$ or US$.
†Components of reported areas differ according to tactic and strategy. Oral rabies vaccination (ORV) entails topographic areas at which baits are distributed at target densities over landscape. Trap–vaccinate–release (TVR) involves relatively limited topographic areas of intense live trapping and parenteral vaccination of captured animals. Point infection control (PIC) involves successive concentric rings of population reduction, TVR and ORV; the concentric rings become distorted if subsequent rabid animals are caught within these rings. New concentric rings are now formed according to these occurrences. Additionally, depending on habitat or location of urban centers, ORV may be used in a larger strip to create an added ORV preventive zone.
‡Most cost estimates include purchase of baits, aircraft, fuel, and equipment but often omit accurate labor charges.
§Surveillance, TVR, PIC, or ORV bait distributions continue at present; therefore, current duration and areas baited differ from those reported. According to Foroutan et al. (26), ORV baitings continue as part of the National ORV Program (Slate et al. [22]).
¶According to Foroutan et al. (26), areas were baited twice each year. In 1997, the first baiting was conducted over a smaller area (1,780 km2), and in May 1997 (initial) and June 1999, 2 smaller emergency baitings (in response to a breach in the ORV zone) were conducted, covering <1,701 km2. Average costs include a baiting in April 1999, when several tests of bait densities (high) were conducted.
#According to Sidwa et al. (17), the area baited had shrunk over time because of progressive coyote-variant rabies elimination, but the purse string (gray fox) tactic and ORV-baited area were expanded in 2007 as the gray fox variant spread north along the Pecos River and into southern Texas. The area cost estimate was derived as the quotient of a reported $3.8 million/year program cost and average annual 33,669 km2 (dog and coyote) and 56,202 km2 (gray fox) bait zones (sum 89,871 km2) cited in Technical Appendix 2.

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