Med. Weter. 74 (3), 203-208, 2018

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Effectiveness of oral immunization of free-living foxes in the reduction of rabies in Poland in 2011-2015
The paper presents the epidemiological situation of rabies in Poland in the period 2011-2015 in the con-text of the ongoing since 2002, a national campaign of oral immunization of free-living foxes and its efficiency and costs. Additionally, the impact of preventive measures on the dynamics of the number of foxes, was evalu-ated. During the study period, a decrease in the amount of ascertained rabies cases in wild and domestic animals was recorded, but still the primary reservoir of the virus were free-living foxes. The high effectiveness of vaccina-tion, evaluated applying detailed laboratory tests, contributed significantly to the level of foxes immunization, which was also confirmed by the ecological assessment. However, in some provinces and years of the research, the level of immunization should be considered as average, which was confirmed by the results of 2015, when only every second fox examined in the framework of monitoring acquired the resistance as a result of preven-tive vaccination. Despite the relatively high cost of the described preventive measures, which include the costs of purchasing the vaccine and its distribution in the field, it seems necessary to continue the oral immunization of foxes initiated in 1993 and expanded in 2002 throughout the country. The dramatic drop in the incidence of rabies in animals affects directly the reduction in the epidemiological risks. Undoubtedly, the negative aspect of the aforementioned actions is growth and persistent large population of foxes and their adverse impact on the functioning of the main small animals species, as well as the possibility of increased epizootic risk in respect of other diseases affecting the species. In this situation, it seems necessary, already begun intensifying acquisition of foxes by culling..
Key words: rabies, fox, epizootic situation, effectiveness of vaccination, Poland