From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1998:

Afflicting the Atlantic seaboard
and New England since 1976, the midAtlantic
raccoon rabies pandemic shows signs
of containment through the escalating use of
Raboral, an oral vaccine developed by the
Wistar Institute of Philadelphia. Used successfuly
against fox rabies in Europe for more
than 20 years, Raboral has kept Cape Cod
free of rabies since 1993, Alison Robbins,
DVM, of the Tufts University School of
Veterinary Medicine announced in late
August. Earlier, Texas officials credited
Raboral with stopping the only recorded mass
outbreak of rabies in coyotes. The Tufts program
is now expanding to vaccinate the raccoons
of Plymouth, Wareham, and Carver,
and as funding becomes available, Massa –
chusetts Department of Public Health

bureau of communicable diseases director
Alfred DeMaria hopes to cover the whole
state. Cornell University, the U S D A, and
the Ontario and Quebec governments are
meanwhile into their second year of air-dropping
Raboral pellets over 500 square miles of
northern Vermont, after last year’s application
helped cut the number of rabies cases
reported in the state from 113 in 1997 to 43
through August this year. Anne Arundel
County, Maryland, is reportedly now using
Raboral to keep rabies off the Annapolis
Neck, and applications in eastern Ohio have
cut reported cases of raccoon rabies there from
59 in 1997 to 18 this year. The raccoon rabies
pandemic began when hunters and trappers
released 3,500 raccoons from Florida, some
of them rabid, to replenish hunted-out populations
in West Virginia. Officials in the six
states to the north and east of the release area
responded by encouraging hunters and trappers
to kill more than 500,000 raccoons per
year for the next 15 years, during which the
rabies outbreak spread through all six states at
an average rate of 50 miles per year, as the
hunting and trapping pressure continually
encouraged raccoons to seek new habitat. The
pace of the outbreak slowed only when it
reached Massachusetts, where leghold trapping
was restricted, and now is banned.
A group of 16 central Ohio public
health, wildlife control, and domestic animal
control agencies calling itself the
Coalition for Responsible Urban Pet and
Wildlife Management in mid-September
announced it is drafting recommendations to
address the possible arrival of raccoon rabies,
which will emphasize seeking a state mandate
to capture cats. The coalition pointed out that
cats are the most common vector for bringing
raccoon rabies into contact with humans.
Identified rabies cases in cats, nationwide,
rose from 114 in 1992 to 288 in 1995––partly
due to increased surveillance after an October
1994 case in which as many as 600 people
received post-exposure vaccination after coming
into possible contact with a single litter of
rabid feral kittens who were offered for adoption
at a pet store in Concord, New
Arad, Israel, is proceeding with a
plan to poison 500 of an estimated 4,000 cats
at large in the town, ostensibly for rabies control,
Ellen Moshenberg o f Arad for
A n i m a l s told ANIMAL PEOPLE o n
September 16. Arad rejected the offer of a Tel
Aviv organization to sterilize and vaccinate
500 cats instead, Moshenberg said, demanding
instead that it should fix and vaccinate at
least 2,500 cats within 30 days, and quarantine
them all for 10 days afterward. The Arad
plan contradicts World Health Organization
findings that mass killing is ineffective as a
rabies control method, and that the only
method which works is vaccinating at least
70% of the species at risk in the threatened
area. Complicating matters, Moshenberg
added, “The K n e s s e t finance committee,
with the strong support of the Veterinary
Services branch of the Israeli Department of
A g r i c u l t u r e, just approved a proposed law
which would mean cat and dog owners could
not vaccinate their animals against rabies
unless they first have them microchipped.
The expense and inconvenience will probably
result in fewer animals being vaccinated.”
British agriculture minister Nick
Brown on September 23 announced a plan to
phase out an 80-year-old requirement that
dogs and cats entering Britain must spend six
months in quarantine. Under the new rules,
they could be admitted without the quarantine
if they are microchip-identified as coming
from another rabies-free nation. Of the 50
U.S. states, only Hawaii would meet the
standard––and the European Commission,
which has proposed a different system of “pet
passports,” says the British plan would violate
free trade treaties. The plan would be
phased in over the next three years, in coordination
with a plan to introduce compulsory
microchipping of British dogs. British animal
control officers annually collect about 135,000
dogs, of whom 20,250 were killed in 1997,
says the National Canine Defence League.
No U.S. city even approaches the British per
capita dog killing ratio of less than one per
2,800 human residents, about a twelfth of the
U.S. average. London produced only one
stray dog per 1,200 residents, and only one
dog in 30 was killed there. Northern Ireland,
with the worst record in Britain, had one stray
dog per 150 residents, and killed about 6,500
dogs––about half of the 13,000 who were collected,
still a good record by U.S. norms.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.