In recent years, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has increasingly occupied urban areas in central Europe. Meanwhile, prevalence of infection in foxes with the small fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) has increased, thereby increasing the human risk of infection with the parasite, which causes alveolar echinococcosis. Baiting strategies to counteract E. multilocularis have been implemented in cities and the open countryside, but there are few data on the situation in villages and small towns (<10,000 inhabitants). We recorded disappearance rates of praziquantel-containing bait within villages and small towns and on settlement edges for 7 days after distribution. Disappearance rates were 89.2% in villages, 88.8% in small towns, and 91.8% in settlement edges. More than 75% of the bait was consistently taken within the first three nights. There were no significant differences in disappearance rates between years or among seasons (Cox proportional hazard model). The survival time of the bait in small towns (P= 0.021) and villages (P=0.026) depended on the zone (zone 1, first row of houses bordering on open countryside; zone 2, second to fourth rows, zone 3; beyond the fifth row) in which bait was distributed. In villages, the probability of bait being eaten in zone 1 was 119% higher than it was in zone 3 (P=0.007). In small towns, the probability was 60% higher (P=0.006).
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Vol. 47 • No. 2