Investigating the Ecology Control and Prevention of Terrestrial Rabies in Free-Ranging Wildlife
Raccoon rabies is now enzootic in all of the eastern coastal states, as well as Pennsylvania, ermont, West Virginia, and parts of Alabama, Tennessee, and Ohio. In the past 25 years, all of the mid-Atlantic and New England states have experienced at least one outbreak. The raccoon rabies front reached Maine in 1994, and northeastern Ohio in 1996.
To combat this growing threat, a vaccine was developed for the oral vaccination of select wildlife species against rabies. Raboral V-RG® confers immunity against rabies virus in select wildlife species. At present, it is the only licensed oral vaccine for rabies control in select wild carnivores in the United States. NWRC researchers have completed or are near completion of studies evaluating various bait densities for raccoons, acceptance of placebo baits by skunks, evaluations of raccoon movements in Alabama, evaluations of the effects of ORVs on nontarget wildlife, and manipulation and consumption of ORV baits by raccoons. Additional, long-term studies to be pursued include immunological responses of raccoons to ORVs; movements and ecology of gray foxes and other reservoir species; natural wildlife movement barriers; more efficient delivery systems for vaccines; better baits and biomarkers for vaccine baits; and biosafety studies for newly developed vaccines.