Date of this Version
The majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control each year occur in wildlife including skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Currently, oral rabies vaccination campaigns are employed to immunize coyotes, foxes, and raccoons. Though skunks are vectors of 6 rabies strains, there is currently no effective oral vaccine or delivery system for skunks. More information is needed to determine if baits currently used are sufficiently attractive to skunks, or if the baits are difficult for skunks to handle and consume. We observed bait manipulation by skunks in penned/feeding trials to determine the bait type most conducive to ingestion and delivery of a mock vaccine to skunks. Smaller baits were easier for skunks to manipulate and consume, and vaccine containers coated with bait facilitated sachet puncture and increased the potential for vaccine delivery. Our information will be useful in the development of baits and vaccine containers for large-scale rabies vaccination campaigns that target skunks.