Modeling enzootic raccoon rabies from land use patterns - Georgia (USA) 2006-2010.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Enhanced rabies surveillance (ERS) is essential for sound oral rabies vaccination (ORV) decisions to prevent the spread of specific rabies virus variants in meso-carnivores and to achieve disease elimination. Use of a direct rapid immunohistochemistry test (dRIT) in North America for timely, accurate rabies diagnosis in the field has facilitated greater ERS emphasis since 2005. ERS used in tandem with exposure-based public health surveillance provides a comprehensive understanding of the geographic distribution of rabies as an aid to formulate effective management strategies for raccoons and other meso-carnivores. In 2015, best management practices were implemented for improving, reinvigorating, and standardizing ERS. A point system for weighing ERS sample categories was evaluated, to determine whether sampling emphasis should be focused upon ill or strange-acting animals, the highest quality category. During 2016, 70.7% of rabid animals detected through ERS in raccoon rabies management states were obtained from strange-acting animals, followed by animals found dead (14.1%), road kills (9.1%), and nuisance-collected specimens (6.1%). Sample category weights may be adjusted based on additional evaluation to ensure continued emphasis on the highest value samples. High quality ERS, in conjunction with serologic evidence of population-based immunity, form the backbone for ORV decisions in the elimination of raccoon 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: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:Animal movement influences the spatial spread of directly transmitted wildlife disease through host-host contact structure. Wildlife disease hosts vary in home range-associated foraging and social behaviours, which may increase the spread and intensity of disease outbreaks. The consequences of variation in host home range movement and space use on wildlife disease dynamics are poorly understood, but could help to predict disease spread and determine more effective disease management strategies. We developed a spatially explicit individual-based model to examine the effect of spatiotemporal variation in host home range size on the spatial spread rate, persistence and incidence of rabies virus (RABV) in raccoons (Procyon lotor). We tested the hypothesis that variation in home range size increases RABV spread and decreases vaccination effectiveness in host populations following pathogen invasion into a vaccination zone. We simulated raccoon demography and RABV dynamics across a range of magnitudes and variances in weekly home range size for raccoons. We examined how variable home range size influenced the relative effectiveness of three components of oral rabies vaccination (ORV) programmes targeting raccoons-timing and frequency of bait delivery, width of the ORV zone and proportion of hosts immunized. Variability in weekly home range size increased RABV spread rates by 1.2-fold to 5.2-fold compared to simulations that assumed a fixed home range size. More variable host home range sizes decreased relative vaccination effectiveness by 71% compared to less variable host home range sizes under conventional vaccination conditions. We found that vaccination timing was more influential for vaccination effectiveness than vaccination frequency or vaccination zone width. Our results suggest that variation in wildlife home range movement behaviour increases the spatial spread and incidence of RABV. Our vaccination results underscore the importance of prioritizing individual-level space use and movement data collection to understand wildlife disease dynamics and plan their effective control and elimination.
Project description: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: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: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:Background:Raccoon rabies is caused by a variant of the rabies virus found in raccoons but transmissible to other mammalian species, including humans. The disease of rabies caused by raccoon variant rabies virus is indistinguishable from rabies caused by other rabies virus variants. Objective:This paper describes the raccoon rabies outbreak in Ontario (identified in December 2015) and the control measures undertaken to curb the spread of the epizootic using the One Health approach. Investigation and Results:Representatives from local, provincial and federal agencies collectively activated a raccoon rabies response that involved policy updates, enhanced surveillance, a public education campaign and mass vaccination of wildlife and domestic animals. Between December 2015 and June 2017, 338 animals tested positive for raccoon rabies in Ontario. While the majority of the cases were raccoons, there was significant spillover into striped skunks, as well as other species including two cats, a fox and a llama. Viral genome sequencing determined that this epizootic was likely caused by long-distance translocation from the United States. Conclusion:This outbreak of raccoon rabies is by far the largest to have occurred in Canada and the first raccoon rabies outbreak documented in a densely populated urban area. This is also the first time this rabies virus variant has been identified in a domestic animal in Canada. A collaborative approach involving numerous stakeholders in the public and private sectors has been instrumental in addressing this epizootic. Though case incidence appears to be declining, several years will likely be required to reach elimination. Continued collaboration between these agencies is necessary to achieve this goal.
Project description:Intensive efforts are being made to eliminate the raccoon variant of rabies virus (RABV) from the eastern United States and Canada. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services National Rabies Management Program has implemented enhanced rabies surveillance (ERS) to improve case detection across the extent of the raccoon oral rabies vaccination (ORV) management area. We evaluated ERS and public health surveillance data from 2006 to 2017 in three northeastern USA states using a dynamic occupancy modeling approach. Our objectives were to examine potential risk corridors for RABV incursion from the U.S. into Canada, evaluate the effectiveness of ORV management strategies, and identify surveillance gaps. ORV management has resulted in a decrease in RABV cases over time within vaccination zones (from occupancy ( ? ¯ ) of 0.60 standard error (SE) = 0.03 in the spring of 2006 to ? ¯ of 0.33 SE = 0.10 in the spring 2017). RABV cases also reduced in the enzootic area (from ? ¯ of 0.60 SE = 0.03 in the spring of 2006 to ? ¯ of 0.45 SE = 0.05 in the spring 2017). Although RABV occurrence was related to habitat type, greater impacts were associated with ORV and trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) campaigns, in addition to seasonal and yearly trends. Reductions in RABV occupancy were more pronounced in areas treated with Ontario Rabies Vaccine Bait (ONRAB) compared to RABORAL V-RG®. Our approach tracked changes in RABV occurrence across space and time, identified risk corridors for potential incursions into Canada, and highlighted surveillance gaps, while evaluating the impacts of management actions. Using this approach, we are able to provide guidance for future RABV management.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In Japan, invasive raccoons cause severe ecological and social problems by transmitting pathogens to humans, livestock, and native species, causing substantial crop damage, and competing with native species. Possible competition between invasive raccoons and native raccoon dogs is of concern in Japan because Japanese raccoon dogs have a limited distribution and are native only to Japan and the two species have similar characteristics. We assessed potential competition between raccoons and raccoon dogs by comparing feeding habits and habitat use.<h4>Results</h4>Both species were captured in Hokkaido, Japan from 2004 to 2017. More raccoons were captured close to agricultural land at the forest periphery (70.1%, 358/511); conversely, more raccoon dogs were captured in the forest core (74.9%, 253/338). Feeding habits were then examined by fecal analysis and stable isotope analyses. Fecal analysis revealed both species to be opportunistic omnivores that consumed easily found food items. However, raccoon feces contained more crops, whereas raccoon dog feces contained more insects, reflecting the different locations in which the species were trapped. Moreover, stable isotope ratios were significantly higher in raccoons than raccoon dogs (Corn has the highest carbon stable isotope (?<sup>13</sup>C) value, and amphibians and reptiles are high in nitrogen stable isotope (?<sup>15</sup>N); forest resources such as insects and wild fruits are low in ?<sup>13</sup>C and ?<sup>15</sup>N).<h4>Conclusions</h4>We conclude that both species ate similar food types, but their food preferences appeared to differ. Raccoon and raccoon dog habitat use also differed, possibly because the two species inhabited areas where they could easily obtain their preferred foods. Therefore, the current feeding habits and habitat use of raccoons do not appear to overlap sufficiently with those of raccoon dogs to impact the latter. The results of this study, particularly the stable isotope data, may provide a useful precedent for future studies of competition in medium-sized mammals, particularly canids.