Short-term interval baiting to combat the re-emergence of fox rabies in Rhineland Palatinate (Germany) in 2005
In 2005, the final phase of terrestrial rabies eradication in Germany was put at risk by a severe setback due to re-introduction of the disease in Rhineland-Palatinate from neighbouring Hesse after seven years of absence. The rapid westward spread of the disease prompted veterinary authorities to react swiftly and apply a new yet unproven vaccination strategy to rapidly increase herd immunity in an almost unprotected fox population to stop the epidemic. The cornerstones of this emergency oral rabies vaccination strategy, i. e. vaccination intervals, identification of high risk spots, real time epidemiological assessment, capable to eliminate rabies within 13 months after incursion are described here. This strategy may be used as a template to tackle similar emergency situations in Europe in the future.