Date of this Version
Rabies is currently enzootic in many cities of southern Ontario. The Ministry of Natural Resources is utilizing two different tactics for the control of rabies in urban wildlife rabies vectors-oral immunization with baits (foxes) and vaccination by injection following live-capture (skunks and raccoons). Between 47 and 79% of the skunks and 61 and 76% of the raccoons were captured and vaccinated (Imrab) in a 60-km2 urban area of Metropolitan Toronto during 1987, 1989. Only three cases of rabies in skunks have been reported since control began in 1987. Population increases of 120% for skunks and 40% for raccoons were noted since the rabies control program was initiated. Densities for raccoons and skunks in urban habitat were found to be as high as 56 and 36 per km2, respectively. An estimated 56% of the foxes in Metropolitan Toronto were reached with rabies vaccine baits following distribution throughout the ravine systems and at fox pup-rearing den sites. To our knowledge, this is the first documentation of the use of a live-virus rabies vaccine for the control of fox rabies in a large metropolitan environment.