Chance and risk of controlling rabies in large-scale and long-term immunized fox populations
The large-scale immunization of European fox populations against rabies is currently under the microscope for reducing the considerable expenditure without putting public health at risk. Empirical knowledge is inadequate to interpret the lasting sporadic incidences and, therefore, to verify the final success of the immunization campaigns. By using a proven simulation model we show that rabies can persist on a very low level in the form of spatio-temporal moving infection clusters within a highly immunized fox population. We found further: (i) the existence of a threshold after which the chance of eradicating the disease by vaccination increases clearly, and (ii) that at least six years of 70% mean immunization rate are required to guarantee a likely success.