A field study was conducted on Antigua, West Indies, to determine the feasibility of delivering an oral rabies vaccine or population control agent to free-ranging mongooses (Herpestes javanicus). Two biomarkers (tetracycline hydrochloride [THCL] and DuPont Oil Blue A® dye) and two bait types (DuPont polymer fish meal and polyurethane foam) were used to bait three study sites. Four hundred polymer baits containing both biomarkers were distributed at 36 central point bait stations (11 baits/station) on an 80 ha study site (5 baits/ha); 69% of the mongoose population consumed one or more baits. Two thousand baits containing THCL and 400 baits containing DuPont dye were distributed on two additional 100 ha study sites (24 baits/ha). Polymer fish meal baits were used on the first site and polyurethane baits on the second site. Based on the presence of biomarkers in bone or soft tissue, 96 to 97% of the mongooses at both sites consumed at least one bait. We conclude that oral baiting of mongooses is a feasible method for delivery of vaccines for the control of rabies in this species.
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Vol. 30 • No. 4