U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Berentsen, A.R., R.T. Sugihara, C.G. Payne, I. Leinbach, S.F. Volker, A. Vos, S. Ortmann, and A.T. Gilbert. 2019. Analysis of iophenoxic acid analogues in small Indian mongoose (Herpestes Auropunctatus) sera for use as an oral rabies vaccination biological marker. JoVe 147:e59373. doi: 10.3791/59373


U.S. government work


The small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) is a reservoir of rabies virus (RABV) in Puerto Rico and comprises over 70% of animal rabies cases reported annually. The control of RABV circulation in wildlife reservoirs is typically accomplished by a strategy of oral rabies vaccination (ORV). Currently no wildlife ORV program exists in Puerto Rico. Research into oral rabies vaccines and various bait types for mongooses has been conducted with promising results. Monitoring the success of ORV relies on estimating bait uptake by target species, which typically involves evaluating a change in RABV neutralizing antibodies (RVNA) post vaccination. This strategy may be difficult to interpret in areas with an active wildlife ORV program or in areas where RABV is enzootic and background levels of RVNA are present in reservoir species. In such situations, a biomarker incorporated with the vaccine or the bait matrix may be useful. We offered 16 captive mongooses placebo ORV baits containing ethyl-iophenoxic acid (et-IPA) in concentrations of 0.4% and 1% inside the bait and 0.14% in the external bait matrix. We also offered 12 captive mongooses ORV baits containing methyl-iophenoxic acid (me-IPA) in concentrations of 0.035%, 0.07% and 0.14% in the external bait matrix. We collected a serum sample prior to bait offering and then weekly for up to eight weeks post offering. We extracted Iophenoxic acids from sera into acetonitrile and quantified using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. We analyzed sera for et-IPA or me-IPA by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We found adequate marking ability for at least eight and four weeks for et- and me-IPA, respectively. Both IPA derivatives could be suitable for field evaluation of ORV bait uptake in mongooses. Due to the longevity of the marker in mongoose sera, care must be taken to not confound results by using the same IPA derivative during consecutive evaluations.