Raccoon dog rabies surveillance and post-vaccination monitoring in Lithuania 2006 to 2010.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Oral rabies vaccination (ORV) in rabies infected regions should target the primary rabies vector species, which in Lithuania includes raccoon dogs as well as red foxes. Specific investigations on ORV in raccoon dogs are needed e.g. evaluation of vaccine effectiveness under field conditions. The objective of the current study was to investigate the efficacy of the ORV programme 2006-2010 in Lithuania by examining the number of rabies cases and estimating the prevalences of a tetracycline biomarker (TTC) and rabies virus antibodies in raccoon dogs. METHODS: From 2006 to 2010, 12.5 million rabies vaccine-baits were distributed by aircraft. Baiting occurred twice per year (spring and autumn), targeting raccoon dogs and red foxes in a 63,000 km2 area of Lithuania. The mandibles of raccoon dogs found dead or killed in the vaccination area were analyzed by fluorescence microscopy for the presence of the TTC. Rabies virus sera neutralizing anti-glycoprotein antibody titres were determined using an indirect ELISA method and seroconversion (> 0.5 EU/ml) rates were estimated. RESULTS: During the study period, 51.5% of raccoon dog mandibles were positive for TTC. 1688 of 3260 tested adults and 69 of 175 tested cubs were TTC positive. Forty-seven percent of raccoon dog serum samples were positive for rabies virus antibodies. 302 of 621 investigated adults and 33 of 95 investigated cubs were seropositive. In the same time 302 of 684 and 43 of 124 tested samples were TTC and ELISA positive in spring; whereas 1455 of 2751 and 292 of 592 tested samples were TTC and ELISA positive in autumn. There was a positive correlation between the number of TTC and antibody positive animals for both adult and cub groups. CONCLUSIONS: ORV was effective in reducing the prevalence of rabies in the raccoon dog population in Lithuania. The prevalence of rabies cases in raccoon dogs in Lithuania decreased from 60.7% in 2006-2007 to 6.5% in 2009-2010.
Project description:Rabies is a fatal zoonosis that still causes nearly 70, 000 human deaths every year. In Europe, the oral rabies vaccination (ORV) of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) was developed in the late 1970s and has demonstrated its effectiveness in the eradication of the disease in Western and some Central European countries. Following the accession of the three Baltic countries--Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania--to the European Union in 2004, subsequent financial support has allowed the implementation of regular ORV campaigns since 2005-2006. This paper reviews ten years of surveillance efforts and ORV campaigns in these countries resulting in the near eradication of the disease. The various factors that may have influenced the results of vaccination monitoring were assessed using generalized linear models (GLMs) on bait uptake and on herd immunity. As shown in previous studies, juveniles had lower bait uptake level than adults. For the first time, raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) were shown to have significantly lower bait uptake proportion compared with red foxes. This result suggests potentially altered ORV effectiveness in this invasive species compared to the red foxes. An extensive phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the North-East European (NEE) rabies phylogroup is endemic in all three Baltic countries. Although successive oral vaccination campaigns have substantially reduced the number of detected rabies cases, sporadic detection of the C lineage (European part of Russian phylogroup) underlines the risk of reintroduction via westward spread from bordering countries. Vaccine induced cases were also reported for the first time in non-target species (Martes martes and Meles meles).
Project description:The setts of the European badger Meles meles can be cohabited during reproductive season by the red fox Vulpes vulpes and raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides. There is no information on the possible impact of both species on the size of badgers' litter. The aim of the study was to show the influence of cohabitation of the same setts by badger, raccoon dog and fox on the litter size. The research was conducted in 2012-2014 and 2018 in the lowland forests of western Poland. We conducted the survey of setts by direct observations and analysis of photographic material from trap cameras during mid-April-July each year. We recorded 85 badger litters, 18 fox litters, and 15 raccoon dog litters. Average litter size was 1.71 (±0.90), 2.44 (±1.34) and 4.93 (±2.76) litter mates in badgers, foxes and raccoon dogs, respectively for all observed pairs. Badger litter size did not differ between setts used only by badgers including pairs with no cubs (1.66 ± 0.98) and cohabited with foxes (1.90 ± 0.32) or raccoon dogs (1.88 ± 0.81). However, foxes reared even more cubs in setts cohabited with badgers than when badger was absent (2.90 ± 1.37 vs. 1.88 ± 1.13 respectively). In the case of raccoon dogs, there were no differences in the mean number of their cubs in setts with badgers (5.25 ± 2.92) and without badgers (4.57 ± 2.76). The results indicate that the cohabitation of setts by badgers, foxes and raccoon dogs does not affect litter size negatively.
Project description:Oral rabies vaccination (ORV) is highly effective in foxes and raccoon dogs, whereas for unknown reasons the efficacy of ORV in other reservoir species is less pronounced. To investigate possible variations in species-specific cell tropism and local replication of vaccine virus, different reservoir species including foxes, raccoon dogs, raccoons, mongooses, dogs and skunks were orally immunised with a highly attenuated, high-titred GFP-expressing rabies virus (RABV). Immunofluorescence and RT-qPCR screenings revealed clear differences among species suggesting host specific limitations to ORV. While for responsive species the palatine tonsils (tonsilla palatina) were identified as a main site of virus replication, less virus dissemination was observed in the tonsils of rather refractory species. While our comparison of vaccine virus tropism emphasizes the important role that the tonsilla palatina plays in eliciting an immune response to ORV, our data also indicate that other lymphoid tissues may have a more important role than originally anticipated. Overall, these data support a model in which the susceptibility to oral live RABV vaccine infection of lymphatic tissue is a major determinant in vaccination efficacy. The present results may help to direct future research for improving vaccine uptake and efficacy of oral rabies vaccines under field conditions.
Project description:During the 20th century parenteral vaccination of dogs at central-point locations was the foundation of successful canine rabies elimination programs in numerous countries. However, countries that remain enzootic for canine rabies have lower infrastructural development compared to countries that have achieved elimination, which may make traditional vaccination methods less successful. Alternative vaccination methods for dogs must be considered, such as oral rabies vaccine (ORV). In 2016, a traditional mass dog vaccination campaign in Haiti was supplemented with ORV to improve vaccination coverage and to evaluate the use of ORV in dogs. Blisters containing live-attenuated, vaccine strain SPBNGAS-GAS were placed in intestine bait and distributed to dogs by hand. Serum was collected from 107 dogs, aged 3-12 months with no reported prior rabies vaccination, pre-vaccination and from 78/107 dogs (72.9%) 17 days post-vaccination. The rapid florescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) was used to detect neutralizing antibodies and an ELISA to detect rabies binding antibodies. Post-vaccination, 38/41 (92.7%) dogs that received parenteral vaccine had detectable antibody (RFFIT >0.05?IU/mL), compared to 16/27 (59.3%, p?<?0.01) dogs that received ORV or 21/27 (77.8%) as measured by ELISA (>40% blocking, p?<?0.05). The fate of 291 oral vaccines was recorded; 283 dogs (97.2%) consumed the bait; 272 dogs (93.4%) were observed to puncture the blister, and only 14 blisters (4.8%) could not be retrieved by vaccinators and were potentially left in the environment. Pre-vaccination antibodies (RFFIT >0.05?IU/mL) were detected in 10/107 reportedly vaccine-naïve dogs (9.3%). Parenteral vaccination remains the most reliable method for ensuring adequate immune response in dogs, however ORV represents a viable strategy to supplement existing parental vaccination campaigns in hard-to-reach dog populations. The hand-out model reduces the risk of unintended contact with ORV through minimizing vaccine blisters left in the community.
Project description:Since the 1990s, oral rabies vaccination (ORV) has been used successfully to halt the westward spread of the raccoon rabies virus (RV) variant from the eastern continental USA. Elimination of raccoon RV from the eastern USA has proven challenging across targeted raccoon (<i>Procyon lotor</i>) and striped skunk (<i>Mephitis mephitis</i>) populations impacted by raccoon RV. Field trial evaluations of the Ontario Rabies Vaccine Bait (ONRAB) were initiated to expand ORV products available to meet the rabies management goal of raccoon RV elimination. This study describes the continuation of a 2011 trial in West Virginia. Our objective was to evaluate raccoon and skunk response to ORV occurring in West Virginia for an additional two years (2012-2013) at 75 baits/km<sup>2</sup> followed by three years (2014-2016) of evaluation at 300 baits/km<sup>2</sup>. We measured the change in rabies virus-neutralizing antibody (RVNA) seroprevalence in targeted wildlife populations by comparing levels pre- and post-ORV during each year of study. The increase in bait density from 75/km<sup>2</sup> to 300/km<sup>2</sup> corresponded to an increase in average post-ORV seroprevalence for raccoon and skunk populations. Raccoon population RVNA levels increased from 53% (300/565, 95% CI: 50-57%) to 82.0% (596/727, 95% CI: 79-85%) during this study, and skunk population RVNA levels increased from 11% (8/72, 95% CI: 6-20%) to 39% (51/130, 95% CI: 31-48%). The RVNA seroprevalence pre-ORV demonstrated an increasing trend across study years for both bait densities and species, indicating that multiple years of ORV may be necessary to achieve and maintain RVNA seroprevalence in target wildlife populations for the control and elimination of raccoon RV in the eastern USA.
Project description:RABORAL V-RG® is an oral rabies vaccine bait that contains an attenuated ("modified-live") recombinant vaccinia virus vector vaccine expressing the rabies virus glycoprotein gene (V-RG). Approximately 250 million doses have been distributed globally since 1987 without any reports of adverse reactions in wildlife or domestic animals since the first licensed recombinant oral rabies vaccine (ORV) was released into the environment to immunize wildlife populations against rabies. V-RG is genetically stable, is not detected in the oral cavity beyond 48 h after ingestion, is not shed by vaccinates into the environment, and has been tested for thermostability under a range of laboratory and field conditions. Safety of V-RG has been evaluated in over 50 vertebrate species, including non-human primates, with no adverse effects observed regardless of route or dose. Immunogenicity and efficacy have been demonstrated under laboratory and field conditions in multiple target species (including fox, raccoon, coyote, skunk, raccoon dog, and jackal). The liquid vaccine is packaged inside edible baits (i.e., RABORAL V-RG, the vaccine-bait product) which are distributed into wildlife habitats for consumption by target species. Field application of RABORAL V-RG has contributed to the elimination of wildlife rabies from three European countries (Belgium, France and Luxembourg) and of the dog/coyote rabies virus variant from the United States of America (USA). An oral rabies vaccination program in west-central Texas has essentially eliminated the gray fox rabies virus variant from Texas with the last case reported in a cow during 2009. A long-term ORV barrier program in the USA using RABORAL V-RG is preventing substantial geographic expansion of the raccoon rabies virus variant. RABORAL V-RG has also been used to control wildlife rabies in Israel for more than a decade. This paper: (1) reviews the development and historical use of RABORAL V-RG; (2) highlights wildlife rabies control programs using the vaccine in multiple species and countries; and (3) discusses current and future challenges faced by programs seeking to control or eliminate wildlife rabies.
Project description:Animal borne rabies virus is a source of infection in humans, and raccoons (Procyon lotor) are the primary terrestrial reservoir in West Virginia (WV). To assess the behavior and status of raccoon variant rabies virus (RRV) cases in WV, a longitudinal analysis for the period 2000-2015 was performed, using data provided by the state Bureau of Public Health. The analytic approach used was negative binomial regression, with exclusion of those counties that had not experienced RRV cases in the study period, and with further examination of those counties where oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits had been distributed as compared with non-ORV counties. These analyses indicated that there had been a reduction in numbers of RRV positive animals over the study period, predominantly due to a decrease in raccoon infections. Non-raccoon hosts did not appear to have a similar decline, however. The rates of decline for the ORV zone were found to be significantly greater as compared to the non-ORV area. The study was limited by the lack of data for season or point location of animal collection, and by lack of surveillance effort data. Even so, this study has implications for the preventive measures currently being implemented, including expanded vaccination effort in domestic animals. Spatial analyses of RRV and further examination of the virus in non-raccoon hosts are warranted.
Project description:Progressive elimination of rabies in wildlife has been a general strategy in Canada and the United States; common campaign tactics are trap-vaccinate-release (TVR), point infection control (PIC), and oral rabies vaccination (ORV). TVR and PIC are labor intensive and the most expensive tactics per unit area (approximately $616/km(2) [in 2008 Can$, converted from the reported $450/km(2) in 1991 Can$] and approximately $612/km(2) [$500/km(2) in 1999 Can$], respectively), but these tactics have proven crucial to elimination of raccoon rabies in Canada and to maintenance of ORV zones for preventing the spread of raccoon rabies in the United States. Economic assessments have shown that during rabies epizootics, costs of human postexposure prophylaxis, pet vaccination, public health, and animal control spike. Modeling studies, involving diverse assumptions, have shown that ORV programs can be cost-efficient and yield benefit:cost ratios >1.0.
Project description:Oral vaccines aid immunization of hard to reach animal populations but often contain live-attenuated viruses that pose risks of reversion to virulence or residual pathogenicity. Human risk assessment is crucial prior to vaccine field distribution but there is currently no standardized approach. We mapped exposure pathways by which distribution of oral vaccines may result in inoculation into people and applied a Markov chain to estimate the number of severe adverse events. We simulated three oral rabies vaccination (ORV) campaigns: (1) first generation ORV (SAD-B19) in foxes, (2) SAD-B19 in dogs, and (3) third generation ORV (SPBN GASGAS) in dogs. The risk of SAD-B19-associated human deaths was predicted to be low (0.18 per 10 million baits, 95% CI: 0.08, 0.36) when distributed to foxes, but, consistent with international concern, 19 times greater (3.35 per 10 million baits, 95% CI: 2.83, 3.98) when distributed to dogs. We simulated no deaths from SPBN GAS-GAS. Human deaths during dog campaigns were particularly sensitive to dog bite rate, and during wildlife campaigns to animal consumption rate and human contact rate with unconsumed baits. This model highlights the safety of third generation rabies vaccines and serves as a platform for standardized approaches to inform risk assessments.
Project description:We analyzed how land-use patterns and changes in urbanization influence reported rabid raccoons in Georgia from 2006 - 2010. Using Geographical Information Systems and rabies surveillance data, multivariate analysis was conducted on 15 land-use variables that included natural topography, agricultural development, and urbanization to model positive raccoon rabies cases while controlling for potential raccoon submission bias associated with higher human population densities. Low intensity residential development was positively associated with reported rabid raccoons while a negative association was found with evergreen forest. Evergreen forests may offer a barrier effect where resources are low and raccoon populations are not supported. Areas with pure stands of upland evergreen forest might be utilized in baiting strategies for oral rabies vaccination programs where fewer or no baits may be needed. Their use as a barrier should be considered carefully in a cost-effective strategy for oral rabies vaccination (ORV) programs to contain the western spread of this important zoonotic disease.