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


Date of this Version

January 2007


Published in Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007.


Transmissible diseases among wildlife species, and between wildlife and domestic livestock, are a matter of increasing concern. A combination of approaches should be considered for controlling disease transmission. If a vaccine is available or can economically be developed for the disease, it should be used as the primary component of the disease management strategy. For example, development of an oral rabies vaccine has led to programs where baits are dispersed on a large scale in a barrier zone to prevent the spread of rabies. However, there are no vaccines available for many diseases and incentives are frequently not present for their development. Because disease transmission is often a function of population density, culling is sometimes used to slow or prevent the spread of a disease. This technique also has disadvantages, because it can lead to an influx of new diseased animals, and because populations generally rebound quickly. Fertility control has been suggested as a management option for slowing disease transmission. Reproductive technology which lowers the population but which also reduces or eliminates reproductive behavior could be used to minimize contact among animals. Physical contact during mating may increase disease transmission by traditional oral, pulmonary and nasal routes. For some wildlife diseases, such as brucellosis and pseudorabies, there is evidence that transmission in also venereal. For these wildlife diseases, fertility control could potentially reduce disease transmission and be a very effective tool for preventing disease transmission.