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  • Author or Editor: Charles E. Rupprecht x
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Objective—To determine the rate and absolute number of human and pet exposures to oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait containing liquid vaccinia rabies glycoprotein recombinant vaccine and to evaluate factors that might affect human contact with bait to modify the program and reduce human exposure to the vaccine.

Design—Retrospective analysis of surveillance data (2001 to 2009).

Sample—Reports on human and pet contact with ORV baits in states with ORV surveillance programs.

Procedures—Data were collected from passive, multistate ORV surveillance systems in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Data collected included the nature of human or pet contact with bait and vaccine, the caller's knowledge of the ORV bait program, local human population density, and other relevant demographic data.

Results—All 18 states participated in the surveillance program for at least 1 year, fora combined 68 years of observation. One thousand four hundred thirty-six calls were reported, representing 3,076 found baits (6.89/100,000 baits dropped); 296 (20%) calls were related to human contact with ruptured bait, and 550 (38%) involved pet contact with the bait. Six adverse events in humans were reported, one of which required hospitalization. Fifty-nine adverse events in pets were noted, all of which were nonserious.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings from surveillance activities have been used to improve baiting strategies and minimize human and pet contact with ORV baits. Overall, human and pet contact with ORV baits was infrequent. Surveillance has led to early identification of persons exposed to ORV and rapid intervention.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine direct and indirect costs associated with raccoon rabies incidents involving cattle herds in Hampshire County, WV, in 2008 and Guernsey County, Ohio, in 2010.

Design—Ex post cost analysis.

Animals—1 cattle herd in Hampshire County, WV, in 2008 and 1 cattle herd in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 2010.

Procedures—Data were collected for each incident through telephone and email interviews with 16 federal, state, and county agency personnel involved in the case investigations and coordinated responses for rabies in the cattle herds. To characterize the economic impact associated with rabies in the 2 cattle herds, cost analysis was conducted with 7 cost variables (salary and benefits for personnel involved in the response, human postexposure prophylaxis, indirect patient costs, rabies diagnostic testing, cattle carcass disposal, market value of euthanized cattle, and enhanced rabies surveillance). Estimates of direct costs were determined on the basis of agency records and other relevant data obtained from notes and reports made by agency staff at the time of the incident and from a review of the literature.

Results—Primary costs included the market value of euthanized cattle ($51,461 in West Virginia; $12,561 in Ohio), human postexposure prophylaxis ($17,959 in West Virginia; $11,297 in Ohio), and salary and benefits for personnel involved in the response ($19,792 in West Virginia; $14,496 in Ohio).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These results should provide a basis for better characterization of the economic impact of wildlife rabies in cattle in the United States.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To evaluate the use of bait containing rabies vaccine to create a barrier of rabies-vaccinated raccoons in Massachusetts and to determine the effectiveness of various bait distribution strategies in halting the spread of rabies.


Prospective study.

Sample Population

Free-ranging raccoons.


Baits were distributed twice yearly in a 207-km2 (80-mi2) area in the vicinity of the Cape Cod Canal. Bait density and distribution strategy varied among 3 treatment areas. Raccoons were caught in live traps after bait distribution and anesthetized; blood samples were obtained to measure serum antibody titers to rabies virus. Vaccination rates were determined by the percentage of captured raccoons with antibody titers to rabies virus ≥ 1:5. In addition, raccoons with clinical signs of illness inside the vaccination zone and adjacent areas were euthanatized and submitted for rabies testing.


The percentage of vaccinated raccoons differed significantly among the following 3 areas with various bait densities: high-density area with uniform bait distribution (103 baits/km2 [267 baits/mi2]) = 37%; low-density area with additional targeted bait distribution (93 baits/km2 [240 baits/mi2]) = 67%; and, high-density area with additional targeted bait distribution (135 baits/km2 [350 baits/mi2]) = 77%. Nineteen animals with rabies (15 raccoons, 3 skunks, 1 cat) were reported in the area just outside of the vaccination zone, but only 1 raccoon with rabies was reported from inside the vaccination zone.

Clinical Implications

In this suburban study area, an approximate vaccination rate of 63% was sufficient to halt the spread of rabies in free-ranging raccoons. Compared with uniform bait distribution, targeting raccoon habitats increased vaccination rates. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;213:1407-1412)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association