Oral vaccination of free-ranging wildlife is a promising technique in rabies control. The small Asian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) is an important reservoir of rabies on several Caribbean islands, but no vaccines have been evaluated for this species. Captive mongooses were used to test the safety and efficacy of the commercially licensed vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein (V-RG) recombinant vaccine and a newly developed genetically engineered oral rabies virus vaccine (SPBNGA-S). In one study using V-RG, no vaccinated animals developed detectable rabies virus–neutralizing antibodies, and all but one died after experimental challenge with rabies virus. In contrast, all animals given SPBNGA-S demonstrated seroconversion within 7 to 14 days after vaccination and survived rabies virus challenge. On the basis of these preliminary results indicating the greater efficacy of SPBNGA-S vs. V-RG vaccine, additional investigations will be necessary to determine the optimal dose and duration of vaccination, as well as incorporation of the SPBNGA-S vaccine into edible bait.
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