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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 2

Approximate, undiscounted total costs of largest oral rabies vaccine programs, North America, 1989–2004*

Location, target species Years Total undiscounted costs, million $ Average undiscounted annual costs, million US$ Reference
Ontario, red foxes 1989–2000 Can$43† 3.5 S.A. Shwiff, unpub. data*
Texas, coyotes and gray foxes 1995–2003 US$34 3.8 (17)‡
Appalachian Ridge, raccoons 1997–2007 US$57 5.2 D. Slate, unpub. data§

*Costs are estimates in Can$ or US$ as reported in original publication or as cited by unpublished source.
†S.A. Shwiff et al. (unpub. data) based their calculations on certain data presented in 9,32.
‡Sidwa et al. (17) stated that (for both programs combined) average annual costs were $3.8 million. We computed this value as follows: 9 years × $3.8 million = $34 million total (i.e., Sidwa et al. did not clarify what was included in their cost estimate).
§D. Slate (2007, unpub. data) provided air, bait, fuel, and staff costs, although some staff hours and fuel costs were omitted for initial campaigns during 1997–2001; a total of 9,394 staff hours, $5,868,262 aircraft costs, $923,481 fuel costs, and $50,187,380 bait costs were reported for 58 campaigns involving the dispensing of 41,018,811 baits over 530,825 km2. The software used to determine bait distribution costs was prepared by staff of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Rabies Management Program. After deselecting the bait zones, flight lines were drawn by using the topography (e.g., avoiding water and residential areas) to determine the flight lines and transects. After that had been established, the bait zones were populated with the lines and measured to determine the total length (km). Flight lines determine total flight hours: ([km × 0.539958 nautical miles]/flight speed [knots] = flight hours). Fuel usage is computed as follows: (flight hours × consumption rate [91 gallons/h] × fuel price/gallon = total fuel cost). Costs were also influenced by air transect width, distance to airports for refueling, and end-of-transect turning distance.

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