Control of terrestrial animal rabies in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, after oral vaccination of raccoons (1998-2007)

Joseph T. Horman Dr., Kyle V. Shannon, E. Marie Simpson, Thomas M. Burja, Robert H. Fey, Jeremy J. Smith, Frances B. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective-To evaluate the effectiveness of an oral rabies vaccination (ORV) project conducted from 1998 through 2007 in Anne Arundel County, Md, for the control of rabies in terrestrial animals. Design-Retrospective analysis of surveillance data (1997 through 2007). Animals-Free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor) and other terrestrial mammals. Procedures-Vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein recombinant virus oral rabies vaccine-bait units were distributed annually by aircraft and ground teams targeting free-ranging raccoons. Approximately 2 to 4 weeks following the vaccine-bait placement, raccoons were live trapped, sedated, processed, and then released. Serologic samples were tested for the presence of rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies (RVNAs). Bait acceptance was estimated by analysis of tetracycline biomarking of sampled teeth. Rabies incidence was determined by the passive identification of rabid terrestrial animals. Results-The incidence of rabies in terrestrial animals decreased 92% between 1997 (the year prior to the start of the ORV project) and 2007. The mean RVNA prevalence across all years was 33% among trapped raccoons in areas baited with a fish meal polymer bait type, whereas the mean bait acceptance was 30%. Adult raccoons had a seropositivity rate twice that of juvenile raccoons, whereas the bait acceptance rate between adults and juveniles did not differ significantly. For areas baited with a coated sachet bait, adults and juveniles had the same seroprevalence. Juveniles had better seroprevalence when the annual campaign started in September and October, compared with August. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-The ORV project contributed to a significant decrease in annual incidence of terrestrial animal rabies in Anne Arundel County, Md, during the 10-year project period. For fish meal polymer baits, juvenile raccoons accessed bait at the same rate as adult raccoons but had a significantly lower prevalence of RVNAs. For coated sachet baits, seroprevalence was the same in both age groups. The time of year the bait distribution occurred and the bait type used may be partial explanations for the difference in RVNA seroprevalence between adults and juvenile raccoons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-734
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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