Use of an Area Index to retrospectively analyze the elimination of fox rabies in European Countries
Oral vaccination of foxes (OVF) is a powerful tool to combat rabies in wildlife, and large parts of western Europe have been freed from rabies using this tool. Nevertheless, the success of OVF, given with the number of campaigns needed to eliminate the disease, depends on many factors. This article for the first time focuses on and assesses difference in OVF with respect to the spatial setting of vaccinated areas with time. The size of the areas vaccinated with time and the size of the overlapping area of consecutively vaccinated areas are particularly considered. In order to integrate these two aspects into one single figure, an Area Index is proposed ranging between 0 and 1. A statistical analysis indicates that the number of campaigns needed for rabies elimination significantly decreases on condition that the total rabies endemic area is consecutively treated right from the beginning of oral vaccination. Hence, from an economical and environmental point of view, vaccination areas should be selected the way that guarantees an Area Index close to 1. The concept of an Area Index, as described here, is a useful tool not only in the context of OVF, but it could also be used for other control schemes against infectious diseases in wildlife.
Selhorst, Thomas / Müller, Thomas / Schwermer, Heinzpeter / et al: Use of an Area Index to retrospectively analyze the elimination of fox rabies in European Countries. 2005.
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