Unlike previous reports to the contrary, raccoons (Procyon lotor) were successfully vaccinated against rabies with a liquid SAD-B19 attenuated virus vaccine administered per os and given in vaccine-laden baits. There was neither evidence of vaccine-induced rabies in raccoons nor in a limited safety trial with opossums (Didelphis virginiana) given SAD-B19. Protection from lethal street rabies virus infection was not absolute: only three of nine raccoons given 1 × 1060 TCID/ml were protected versus five of 10 raccoons given 1 × 1070 TCID/ml of SAD-B19 and challenged 4 mo after consumption of vaccine-laden baits. Six of eight raccoons consuming 1 × 1088 TCID/ml of SAD-B19 vaccine in baits survived street rabies virus challenge 2 mo postvaccination. Raccoon survivorship was not wholly dependent upon rabies virus-neutralizing antibody titer on the day of challenge. Vaccinated raccoons demonstrated a prominent anamnestic response within 1 wk following challenge. Surviving raccoons were observed for a minimum of 3 mo following street rabies virus challenge with neither clinical nor pathologic evidence of rabies. The SAD-B19 rabies vaccine administered within baits in captivity appears less effective for raccoons than for its demonstrated efficacy in the immunization of free-ranging foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Europe.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4