Twenty-one adult raccoons (Procyon lotor) were radio-marked on each of two areas in Centre County, Pennsylvania from 17 June to 23 August 1987. Raccoons on Area 1 were vaccinated with a commercial inactivated rabies virus vaccine administered intramuscularly, whereas on Area 2 raccoons were not vaccinated. Survival rates were estimated for three periods: pre-season (23 August to 23 October 1987), harvest season (24 October 1987 to 23 January 1988) and post-season (24 January to 26 March 1988). Kaplan-Meier survival rates (±SE) were 1.00 ± 0.00 for both areas during the pre- and post-season periods. Survival rates during the harvest period were 0.67 ± 0.11 and 0.69 ± 0.11 for Area 1 and Area 2, respectively. Survival rates between the two areas were not different (P = 0.929). During 23 August 1987 to 26 March 1988, rabies was not an apparent factor in raccoon survival. Conclusions regarding timing an oral rabies vaccination campaign based upon occurrence of rabies-related mortalities could not be presented because of the lack of obvious rabies mortality. However, our findings, combined with information about immunization, vaccine distribution, and peak periods of raccoon rabies, suggest a late winter or early spring vaccination period would be optimum for reducing the number of raccoons susceptible to rabies.
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