An evaluation of the efficiency of rabies control strategies in fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations using a computer simulation program
A computer simulation program is set up to predict the population dynamics of the red fox Vulpes vulpes with time, the intake of vaccine-laced baits and the resulting time course of the immunization rate. Using the simulation program we are able to analyse the influence of the partial effects of the bait density, the attractiveness of the baits, the timing of the vaccination campaigns and the population densities of the fox and the bait competitors on the immunization rates. The analysis of the simulation results allows to formulate the following statements: Increasing the immunization rate by means of distributing a larger amount of baits is always limited by the attractiveness of the baits to the fox population. Increasing fox population densities result in decreasing immunization rates. But a 3-fold increase in population density of foxes within 6 years only results in a slight decrease of the immunization rate, if 20 baits - showing high attractiveness to the foxes - are distributed per square kilometre. The time course of the immunization rate of foxes is highly influenced by the exact timing of the vaccination campaign in spring. In order to achieve a constantly high immunization rate, in spring the bait distribution has to be carried out when nearly all of the newborns are able to take in vaccine-laced baits.
Selhorst, Thomas / Müller, Thomas: An evaluation of the efficiency of rabies control strategies in fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations using a computer simulation program. 1999.
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