The number and geographic distribution of rabies cases in striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) from Saskatchewan (n = 2,506 cases), Montana (n = 1,142), and Alberta (n = 199) since 1963 were reviewed. In Saskatchewan the number of cases increased steadily for 5 yr and then fluctuated consistently in a 4 yr cyclic pattern. Similarly an initial sweep across the province was followed by a cyclic pattern of geographic expansion (3 to 4 yr) and reduction (1 to 2 yr). No organized control efforts were conducted in Saskatchewan. Similar cyclic patterns were not seen in data from Montana or Alberta. In the latter areas, the number and distribution of rabies cases in skunks appeared to reflect efforts to reduce the population of skunks. An integrated program of skunk removal using poison and live-traps in association with research and public education successfully contributed to limiting the spread and establishment of rabies in striped skunks within prairie habitats. Rabies did not persist in skunks in other habitats.
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Vol. 24 • No. 3