Date of this Version
Virus Research 111 (2005) 68–76
Persistence of multiple variants of rabies virus in wild Chiroptera and Carnivora presents a continuing challenge to medical, veterinary and wildlife management professionals. Oral rabies vaccination (ORV) targeting specific Carnivora species has emerged as an integral adjunct to conventional rabies control strategies to protect humans and domestic animals. ORV has been applied with progress toward eliminating rabies in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in western Europe and southern Ontario, Canada. More recently since 1995, coordinated ORV was implemented among eastern states in the U.S.A. to prevent spread of raccoon (Procyon lotor) rabies and to contain and eliminate variants of rabies virus in the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and coyote (Canis latrans) in Texas. In this paper, we describe the current cooperative ORV program in the U.S.A. and discuss the importance of coordination of surveillance and rabies control programs in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.A. Specifically, several priorities have been identified for these programs to succeed, which include additional oral vaccines, improved baits to reach target species, optimized ORV strategies, effective communication and legal strategies to limit translocation across ORV barriers, and access to sufficient long-term funding. These key priorities must be addressed to ensure that ORV has the optimal chance of achieving long range programmatic goals of eliminating specific variants of rabies virus in North American terrestrial carnivores.