Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) were successfully immunized against rabies using an orally-administered, liquid SAD-BHK21 live virus vaccine in a sausage bait. Immunization was determined by serologic response and by resistance to challenge with an arctic rabies virus strain. Virus was not shed in saliva following oral vaccination, indicating that arctic foxes would not infect other foxes after ingesting this vaccine. High antibody levels were present in all experimental foxes 2 wk following initial vaccination. A booster vaccination at 56 wk induced a significant serologic response within 1 wk, suggesting an anamnestic response but titers began to decline within 8 wk in most foxes. Foxes were observed for 16 mo following the challenge and exhibited no symptoms of rabies. The SAD-BHK21 rabies vaccine in a sausage bait system has a strong potential for vaccinating wild populations of arctic fox.
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Vol. 24 • No. 3