Cost of distributing oral raccoon-variant rabies vaccine in Ohio: 1997–2000

Pirouz Foroutan Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Martin I. Meltzer Office of Surveillance, Office of the Director, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30333.

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Kathleen A. Smith Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, Zoonotic Disease–Rabies Program, Ohio Department of Health, 246 N High St, PO Box 118, Columbus, OH 43266.

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Abstract

Objective—Analysis of the cost of 8 distributions of oral rabies vaccine (ORV) with strains known to infect raccoons in Ohio between 1997 and 2000.

Design—Original study.

Procedure—Fishmeal bait containing ORV was distributed on foot, by vehicle, and by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. The cost of personnel, vehicles, and helicopter and aircraft use and other associated expenses were obtained from field records and interviews with personnel and agencies involved in the ORV program.

Results—Each bait distribution lasted approximately 1 week. Areas baited ranged from 1,701 km2 to 6,497 km2. Density varied for each distribution, with means of 79 baits/km2 for ground baiting and 93 baits/km2 for aerial baiting. Typically, 72 people participated in the ground portion of each distribution and 32 in the aerial portion. The cost of ground baiting (mean ± SD, $19.24/km2 ± $6.35/km2) was consistently less than that for air baiting (mean ± SD, $24.71/km2 ± $4.65/km2) for each distribution. The total cost of distribution varied from $30,568 to $145,842 (mean, $96,791), and bait cost varied from $150,714 to $1,029,423 (mean, $543,839). The total cost of ORV distributions ranged from $102/km2 to $261/km2 (mean, $153/km2).

Conclusions—In the United States, rabies strains that infect raccoons have been responsible for the largest increase in rabies in animals in the past 3 decades. Use of ORV is a promising new tool that can be used to control rabies in raccoons. Documenting the estimated cost of implementing an ORV program may lead to more efficient use of resources to control and limit the spread of rabies. In addition, accurately measured distribution costs can be used to perform an economic cost-benefit analysis for an ORV program. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002; 220:27–32)

Abstract

Objective—Analysis of the cost of 8 distributions of oral rabies vaccine (ORV) with strains known to infect raccoons in Ohio between 1997 and 2000.

Design—Original study.

Procedure—Fishmeal bait containing ORV was distributed on foot, by vehicle, and by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. The cost of personnel, vehicles, and helicopter and aircraft use and other associated expenses were obtained from field records and interviews with personnel and agencies involved in the ORV program.

Results—Each bait distribution lasted approximately 1 week. Areas baited ranged from 1,701 km2 to 6,497 km2. Density varied for each distribution, with means of 79 baits/km2 for ground baiting and 93 baits/km2 for aerial baiting. Typically, 72 people participated in the ground portion of each distribution and 32 in the aerial portion. The cost of ground baiting (mean ± SD, $19.24/km2 ± $6.35/km2) was consistently less than that for air baiting (mean ± SD, $24.71/km2 ± $4.65/km2) for each distribution. The total cost of distribution varied from $30,568 to $145,842 (mean, $96,791), and bait cost varied from $150,714 to $1,029,423 (mean, $543,839). The total cost of ORV distributions ranged from $102/km2 to $261/km2 (mean, $153/km2).

Conclusions—In the United States, rabies strains that infect raccoons have been responsible for the largest increase in rabies in animals in the past 3 decades. Use of ORV is a promising new tool that can be used to control rabies in raccoons. Documenting the estimated cost of implementing an ORV program may lead to more efficient use of resources to control and limit the spread of rabies. In addition, accurately measured distribution costs can be used to perform an economic cost-benefit analysis for an ORV program. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002; 220:27–32)

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