A Vos

IDT Biologika, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

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Publications (33)60.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY The incidence of rabies in livestock is an important factor for estimating the economic impact of the disease, but obtaining reliable data is hindered by inadequate surveillance. In order to understand the contribution of livestock rabies to the overall burden of disease, the rabies incidence in cattle was investigated in detail for Turkey between 2008 and 2011. Data were compiled on cattle numbers, samples submitted for rabies diagnosis, vaccinated animals and positive rabies cases in animals for seven regions in Turkey. Rabies incidence in cattle fluctuated annually and differed between regions from 0·10 to 3·87 cases/100 000 animals. The positive influence of compensation schemes was observed. Livestock losses were conservatively estimated at around $250 000 international dollars per annum, although in areas where compensation schemes are not operating this could be an underestimate of the economic burden. Vaccination of cattle remains an option for disease prevention, although oral rabies vaccination through aerially distributed baits should be implemented to prevent the further spread of fox-mediated rabies, which could result in much greater economic costs.
    Epidemiology and Infection 11/2013; 142(9):1-9. DOI:10.1017/S0950268813002811 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oral rabies vaccination (ORV) has become the method of choice in fox rabies control in Europe. During the past three decades fox-mediated rabies virtually disappeared from Western and Central Europe. Following Switzerland, Germany was the second European country to launch ORV field trials on its territory in 1983. This paper provides a historical overview on the emergence of fox rabies in Germany; describing the basic principles and milestones of the German rabies eradication programme and presenting results of two decades of efforts to control the disease in foxes. Also, setbacks as well as country-specific differences and particularities on Germany's long way to rabies elimination in comparison to other European countries are addressed. Since the first field trials in Germany the number of rabies cases steadily decreased from 10 484 in 1983 to three cases recorded in 2006. On February 3rd 2006 the last case of terrestrial rabies in Germany was detected in a fox near the town of Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate. In 2008, ORV ceased after 25 years and Germany was officially declared as free from terrestrial rabies. The German rabies eradication programme did cost approximately 100 million euro of which 37 million euro were covered by the EU. For the future, efforts should focus on maintaining a rabies free status by implementing measures to prevent reintroduction of terrestrial rabies from endemic countries.
    Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 01/2012; 125(5-6):178-90. · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Following a sustained spill-over event from dogs to foxes, fox rabies spread rapidly in the Aegean region, Turkey. In order to control the outbreak a program of oral vaccination of foxes against rabies was introduced. In the selected vaccination area three annual campaigns between 2008 and 2010 were undertaken during the winter months whereby the vaccine baits were distributed exclusively by plane using a density of 18 baits per km2. Subsequently, fox rabies cases were reported only from locations bordering the non-vaccinated areas. Hence, it was shown that fox rabies control by means of oral rabies vaccination is feasible in Turkey. However, for the progress towards the elimination of fox-mediated rabies in Turkey to be maintained, it is necessary that political and financial support is secured to extend oral vaccination where infected foxes remain.
    Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 01/2012; 125(5-6):203-8. · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Terrestrial wildlife rabies has been successfully eliminated from Germany predominantly as a result of the distribution of oral rabies vaccine baits. In case that wildlife rabies would re-emerge among its known reservoir species in Germany, swift action based on previous experiences could spatially and temporally limit and subsequently control such an outbreak. However, if rabies emerged in the raccoon population in Germany (Procyon lotor), there are no tools or local experience available to cope with this situation. This is especially worrisome for urban areas like Kassel (Hesse) due to the extremely high raccoon population density. A rabies outbreak among this potential reservoir host species in these urban settings could have a significant impact on public and animal health.
    Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 01/2012; 125(5-6):228-35. · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies is considered one of the oldest infectious diseases known to humans. However, the first written reports on rabies cases in the Americas did not appear until the first decade of the 18th century from Mexico. In an attempt to clarify if the disease was already present in pre-Columbian times, we searched for evidence in the Maya and Aztec cultures. Other sources of information were early manuscripts written by the conquistadors and early explorers. We did not identify any unequivocal direct evidence that the disease rabies was known in pre-Columbian Central America but sufficient circumstantial evidence is available suggesting that (bat) rabies was already present in these early times.
    Epidemiology and Infection 07/2011; 139(10):1445-52. DOI:10.1017/S0950268811001440 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies is a fatal viral encephalitis and results from infection with viruses belonging to the genus Lyssavirus. Infection usually results from a bite from a dog infected with classical rabies virus. However, a small number of cases result from contact with bats. It is within bats that most lyssavirus variants, referred to as genotypes, are found. The lyssaviruses found in bats have a distinct geographical distribution and are often restricted to specific bat species. Most have been associated with rabies in humans and in some cases spill-over to domestic animals. Many diagnostic techniques are unable to differentiate rabies virus from other genotypes so it is possible that some human and animal cases go unreported. Furthermore, current vaccines have limited efficacy against some genotypes.
    Veterinary Microbiology 02/2010; 142(3-4):151-9. DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.02.001 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Turkey is the only country in Europe where urban dog-mediated rabies persists. Control measures in recent decades have reduced the burden of rabies to relatively low levels but foci of disease still persist, particularly in urban areas. Occasional human cases result from this persistence although the source of these appears to be both dog and wildlife reservoirs. This review considers the current state of rabies in Turkey including current control measures, the varying epidemiology of the disease throughout this country and the prospects for rabies elimination.
    Epidemiology and Infection 10/2009; 138(3):305-12. DOI:10.1017/S0950268809990963 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To eradicate rabies in foxes, almost 97 million oral rabies vaccine baits have been distributed in Germany and Austria since 1983 and 1986, respectively. Since 2007, no terrestrial cases have been reported in either country. The most widely used oral rabies vaccine viruses in these countries were SAD (Street Alabama Dufferin) strains, e.g. SAD B19 (53.2%) and SAD P5/88 (44.5%). In this paper, we describe six possible vaccine-virus-associated rabies cases in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) detected during post-vaccination surveillance from 2001 to 2006, involving two different vaccines and different batches. Compared to prototypic vaccine strains, full-genome sequencing revealed between 1 and 5 single nucleotide alterations in the L gene in 5 of 6 SAD isolates, resulting in up to two amino acid substitutions. However, experimental infection of juvenile foxes showed that those mutations had no influence on pathogenicity. The cases described here, coming from geographically widely separated regions, do not represent a spatial cluster. More importantly, enhanced surveillance showed that the vaccine viruses involved did not become established in the red fox population. It seems that the number of reported vaccine virus-associated rabies cases is determined predominantly by the intensity of surveillance after the oral rabies vaccination campaign and not by the selection of strains.
    Archives of Virology 07/2009; 154(7):1081-91. DOI:10.1007/s00705-009-0408-7 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) accounts for the vast majority of bat rabies cases in Europe and is considered the main reservoir for European bat lyssavirus type 1 (EBLV-1, genotype 5). However, so far the disease has not been investigated in its native host under experimental conditions. To assess viral virulence, dissemination and probable means of transmission, captive bats were infected experimentally with an EBLV-1a virus isolated from a naturally infected conspecific from Germany. Twenty-nine wild caught bats were divided into five groups and inoculated by intracranial (i.c.), intramuscular (i.m.) or subcutaneous (s.c.) injection or by intranasal (i.n.) inoculation to mimic the various potential routes of infection. One group of bats was maintained as uninfected controls. Mortality was highest in the i.c.-infected animals, followed by the s.c. and i.m. groups. Incubation periods varied from 7 to 26 days depending on the route of infection. Rabies did not develop in the i.n. group or in the negative-control group. None of the infected bats seroconverted. Viral antigen was detected in more than 50% of the taste buds of an i.c.-infected animal. Shedding of viable virus was measured by virus isolation in cell culture for one bat from the s.c. group at 13 and 14 days post-inoculation, i.e. 7 days before death. In conclusion, it is postulated that s.c. inoculation, in nature caused by bites, may be an efficient way of transmitting EBLV-1 among free-living serotine bats.
    Journal of General Virology 07/2009; 90(Pt 10):2493-502. DOI:10.1099/vir.0.011510-0 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    H Un · N Johnson · A Vos · T Muller · A.R. Fooks · O Aylan
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies remains endemic in many regions of Turkey. As a consequence, humans are at risk of this fatal disease through encounters with rabid animals. The present study describes four recent cases of rabies in humans. Subsequent phylogenetic analysis of the rabies virus isolates obtained from each case demonstrates the distinct geographical distribution of rabies virus variants within Turkey. The study suggests that rabies virus translocation has occurred across Turkey and might be the source of the emergence of a genetically similar variant in the Golan Heights region on the Israeli/Syrian border in 2004.
    Clinical Microbiology and Infection 07/2009; 15(12):1185-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2009.02791.x · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two common bat lyssavirus species have been identified in many European countries: European bat lyssavirus type-1 and -2 (EBLV-1 and EBLV-2). Only limited knowledge on the susceptibility of the natural EBLV-hosts, insectivorous bats, to lyssavirus infection is available. Our study was undertaken to evaluate the susceptibility and pathology associated with an EBLV-1 infection in Eptesicus fuscus following different routes of virus inoculation including intracranial (n = 6), intramuscular (n = 14), oral (n = 7) and intranasal (n = 7). Blood and saliva samples were collected from all bats on a monthly basis. Four bats inoculated intracranially developed rabies with a mean of 11 days to death, whilst seven bats inoculated intramuscularly developed rabies, with an extended incubation period prior to death. We did not observe any mortality in the oral (p.o.) or intranasal (i.n.) groups and both groups had detectable levels of virus neutralizing antibodies (data not shown). Virus shedding was demonstrated in the saliva by virus isolation and the detection of viral RNA in ill bats, particularly immediately prior to the development of disease. In addition, the presence of virus and viral RNA was detected in the thyroid gland in bats challenged experimentally with EBLV-1, which exceeded that detected in all other extra-neural tissue. The significance of detecting EBLV-1 in the thyroid gland of rabid bats is not well understood. We speculate that the infection of the thyroid gland may cause subacute thyroiditis, a transient form of thyroiditis causing hyperthyroidism, resulting in changes in adrenocortical activity that could lead to hormonal dysfunction, thereby distinguishing the clinical presentation of rabies in the rabid host.
    Zoonoses and Public Health 06/2009; 56(6-7):270-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1863-2378.2008.01203.x · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the susceptibility of insectivorous bats (using the big brown bat as a model) to infection with European bat lyssavirus type 1a (EBLV-1a), to assess the dynamics of host immune responses and to evaluate the opportunity for horizontal viral transmission within colonies. Two isolates of EBLV-1a, originating from Slovakia (EBLV-1aSK) and Germany (EBLV-1aGE), were tested. Four different routes of inoculation were used with isolate EBLV-1aSK [10(4.8) mouse intracerebral median lethal dose (MICLD(50)) in 50 mul]: intramuscular (i.m.) in the deltoid area or masseter region, per os (p.o.) and intradermal (i.d.) scratches. Isolate EBLV-1aGE (10(3.2) and 10(2.2) MICLD(50) in 20 mul) was inoculated via the intranasal (i.n.), i.m. (low- and high-dose groups, into pectoral muscles); p.o. and intracerebral (i.c.) routes. None of the bats infected by the i.n., p.o. or i.d. route with either virus isolate developed disease during the experiments (91 or 120 days, respectively). Incubation periods were 9-12 days for i.c.-inoculated bats (66 % mortality), 12-33 days for bats inoculated i.m. with the higher dose (23-50 % mortality) and 21-58 days in bats inoculated i.m. with the lower dose of virus (57 % mortality). Virus or viral RNA in bat saliva was detected occasionally, as early as 37 days before death. All i.d.-inoculated and the majority of i.m.-inoculated bats seroconverted within 7-10 days of inoculation. These observations suggest that exposure of bats to varying doses of EBLV-1 from rabid conspecifics via natural (i.d.) routes could lead to an abortive infection and serve as a natural mode of immunization resulting in the presence of virus-neutralizing antibodies in free-ranging bats.
    Journal of General Virology 08/2008; 89(Pt 8):1998-2010. DOI:10.1099/vir.0.83688-0 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies remains endemic within a number of countries in Southeast Europe including Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. With the probable expansion of the European Union eastwards, it is likely that rabies elimination programs will be increased to reduce the burden of disease in new accession countries. A clear understanding of the epidemiology of the virus in this area of Europe is vital before such programs are introduced. With the exception of Turkey, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the principal disease reservoir in Southeastern Europe. However, cases of rabies in the dog (Canis familiaris) are regularly reported. In contrast to Northern Europe, the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) does not appear to be a vector in the south. This study summarises the current rabies situation in Southeast Europe and demonstrates the phylogenetic relationships between the viruses in a number of the countries within the region. Rabies virus RNA was extracted from original samples and a fragment of the nucleoprotein gene amplified by reverse-transcriptase PCR. Automated sequencing was used to derive nucleoprotein gene sequences and these were used to prepare a molecular phylogeny of rabies viruses in Southeast Europe. In Bulgaria, the dog is the main vector bringing rabies into contact with humans and livestock. However, other species may also act as reservoirs for the disease, complicating the development of elimination strategies. The fox is the principal reservoir species for rabies in Romania although cases in dogs are regularly reported. Despite a gradual decline in dog rabies, urban pockets of the disease remain in many regions of Turkey. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the fox has been a significant vectorfor rabies and may be responsible for increases in rabies in cattle in the Aegean region of the country. Throughout the region there is evidence for cross-border movement of rabies by both wildlife and canine vectors.
    Developments in biologicals 01/2008; 131:189-98.
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    ABSTRACT: European bat lyssaviruses (EBLVs) have been known to cross the species barrier from their native bat host to other terrestrial mammals. In this study, we have confirmed EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 susceptibility in sheep (Ovis ammon) following intracranial and peripheral (intramuscular) inoculation. Notably, mild clinical disease was observed in those exposed to virus via the intramuscular route. Following the intramuscular challenge, 75% of the animals infected with EBLV-1 and 100% of those that were challenged with EBLV-2 developed clinical signs of rabies and then recovered during the 94-day observation period. Disease pathogenesis also varied substantially between the two viruses. Infection with EBLV-1 resulted in peracute clinical signs, which are suggestive of motor neuron involvement. Antibody induction was observed and substantial inflammatrory infiltrate in the brain. In contrast, more antigen was detected in the EBLV-2-infected sheep brains but less inflammatory infiltrate and no virus neutralising antibody was evident. The latter involved a more protracted disease that was behaviour orientated. A high infectious dose was required to establish EBLV infection under experimental conditions (> or =5.0 logs/ml) but the infectious dose in field cases remains unknown. These data confirm that sheep are susceptible to infection with EBLV but that there is variability in pathogenesis including neuroinvasiveness that varies with the route of infection. This study suggests that inter-species animal-to-animal transmission of a bat variant of rabies virus to a terrestrial mammal host may be limited, and may not always result in fatal encephalitis.
    Veterinary Microbiology 01/2008; 125(3-4):210-23. DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2007.05.031 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rabies in European bats was first reported in Germany in 1954. In concordance with Denmark and the Netherlands, Germany has reported one of the highest numbers (n = 187) of European bat lyssavirus (EBLV)-positive cases in bats in Europe so far (1954-2005). A combined descriptive epidemiological and phylogenetic analysis on bat rabies and prevailing EBLVs is presented, comprising the past 50 years. So far, only the two lineages of EBLV-1 (genotype 5), a and b, have been detected. Although only 50% of the rabies-positive bats have been identified by species, the Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) is the bat species most frequently infected. Single rabies cases have also been detected in a further five indigenous bat species. There is proven evidence for a substantial bias in the frequency of bat rabies cases in the north of Germany, with an endemic cluster in the northwesternmost low-lying plain areas adjacent to the Netherlands and Denmark. Improvements to bat rabies surveillance and research are discussed.
    Archives of Virology 03/2007; 152(2):273-88. DOI:10.1007/s00705-006-0853-5 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    N Johnson · H Un · A Vos · O Aylan · AR Fooks
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of rabies has decreased in Turkey during recent years. However, an increasing number of rabies cases have been reported in the Aegean (western) region of Turkey. The virus appears to have maintained a foothold in the urban areas of the province of Izmir with only three cases per year being reported during the mid-1990s. Since 2001, the virus has been recorded in the previously rabies-free provinces of Manisa and Aydin. During this epizootic, cases have been reported in both dogs and foxes, and there has been an unusually high incidence of rabies in domestic livestock, especially cattle. This report describes the development of this epizootic and a preliminary phylogenetic study which suggests that the source of this epizootic was likely to have been the residual cases within Izmir rather than a fresh introduction of rabies from foci to the north (Istanbul) and the Eastern provinces of Turkey.
    Epidemiology and Infection 05/2006; 134(2):369-75. DOI:10.1017/S0950268805005017 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For the first time, the effectiveness of oral rabies vaccines against European Bat Lyssaviruses Type 1 (EBLV-1) and Type 2 (EBLV-2) by means of cross-neutralization assays was investigated. Sera from orally vaccinated red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) with the Street Alabama Dufferin (SAD) B19 and SAD P5/88 live-modified vaccine viruses were used to study the cross reactive antigenicity against CVS-11 (genotype 1), EBLV-1 (genotype 5) and EBLV-2 (genotype 6). For comparison, similar crossneutralization assays with sera from EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 infected ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) and/or foxes were conducted. Sera from animals vaccinated with the two oral rabies vaccines were reactive against CVS-11 (homologous virus), EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 (heterologous virus). There was a positive relationship among the virus neutralising antibody titres (VNA); high VNA titres against CVS-11 also resulted in high VNA titres against each EBLV, whereas in general, the VNA-titres obtained with homologous virus were statistically higher than those with the heterologous virus except for SAD P5/88 vaccinated raccoon dogs. No significant difference was found between EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 VNA titres. A similar trend was observed when the results of the cross-neutralization data of the foxes and ferrets inoculated i.m. with EBLV-1 and/or EBLV-2 was analysed. Based on the similarity of the EBLV-VNA titres obtained in our study questions were raised on whether the genetic distance of genotype 5 & 6 within phylogroup 1 really does reflect their antigenetic characteristics or whether this is a feature of attenuated live vaccine viruses. This broad cross protection, however, demonstrated that the representatives of attenuated SAD strains of oral rabies vaccines currently used in Germany are most likely able to protect the reservoir species, red fox and raccoon dog, against EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 infection.
    Developments in biologicals 01/2006; 125:195-204.
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    ABSTRACT: The susceptibility of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to European bat lyssavirus type 1 (EBLV-1) infection was examined. Eight foxes were inoculated intramuscularly (i.m.) with 10(4.9) foci-forming units (FFU) (n = 4) and 10(5.1) FFU (n = 4) and observed for up to 90 days. All foxes showed manifestations of a neurologic disorder (e.g. seizures, myoclonus, agitation), starting as early as 5 days post-infection (p.i.). Subsequently, all animals showed improvement followed by one or more relapses. One fox was killed 3 days after it recovered, 26 days post-infection. Two other foxes were also killed 38 and 54 days post-infection after severe neurologic signs returned. All foxes developed a humoral immune response against EBLV-1 as determined in serum and brain tissues. However, no rabies virus antigen was detected in the brain, other tissues and secretions examined (e.g. salivary gland, saliva, tonsils, lungs) by using different standard diagnostic techniques [fluorescent antibody test, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), rabies tissue culture inoculation test], with the exception of one fox in which EBLV-1 RNA was detected by RT-PCR in only the spinal cord. Brain tissues showed moderate to severe multifocal, mononuclear encephalomyelitis in the three foxes that were killed during the observation period, although no EBLV-1 virus was detectable in these tissues.
    Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series B 10/2004; 51(7):327-32. DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0450.2004.00793.x · 1.57 Impact Factor
  • A Vos · T Müller · J Cox · L Neubert · A R Fooks
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    ABSTRACT: Twenty ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) were inoculated by intramuscular (i.m.) injection with European Bat Lyssaviruses (EBLV) type-1 and 2 using 10(4.0) foci-forming units (FFU) EBLV-2 (n = 6), 10(4.0) FFU EBLV-1 (n = 7) and 10(6.0) FFU EBLV-1 (n = 7). Furthermore, 15 mice received 10(2.5) FFU EBLV-2 (n = 5), 10(2.5) FFU EBLV-1 (n = 5) and 10(4.5) FFU EBLV-1 (n = 5) by i.m. inoculation. All ferrets and mice receiving the higher dose of EBLV-1 succumbed to infection. In contrast, only three of seven ferrets and two of five mice inoculated experimentally with the lower EBLV-1 dose died. By comparison, all of the EBLV-2 infected ferrets and four of five mice survived infection. All 20 infected ferrets seroconverted. Using sensitive molecular tools, the virus was detected in different tissues, but it could not be found in any saliva samples taken during the 84-day observation period.
    Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series B 04/2004; 51(2):55-60. DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0450.2004.00730.x · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As a result of oral vaccination of foxes (Vulpes vulpes) against rabies, this virus disease has almost been completely eradicated from West- and Central Europe. In most countries, vaccine baits were distributed twice a year: during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October). This strategy has shown to be able to control and eventually eradicate rabies. However, it remains to be clarified if this is the most cost-effective strategy. Astonishingly, the behavioural ecology of the target species, the red fox, did receive only limited attention selecting the periods when baits should be distributed. Considering the behavioural ecology and rabies epidemiology of foxes, territory owners seem to play a key role in the spread and maintenance of rabies. Thus, oral vaccination campaigns should be targeted primarily at these animals. It is suggested that the optimal timing for bait distribution in Europe is late autumn (November) or early winter (December), depending on the prevailing climatic conditions. Additional campaigns, when financially feasible, can be implemented in order to maintain a high vaccination coverage during the remaining year. Furthermore, different baiting strategies can be selected in case of re-infection or persistent residual foci.
    Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series B 01/2004; 50(10):477-83. DOI:10.1046/j.1439-0450.2003.00712.x · 1.57 Impact Factor