A baiting system suitable for the delivery of oral rabies vaccine to dog populations in developing countries was studied in Zimbabwe. In a field trial, 369 sponge baits containing a placebo liquid, rhodamine B as a biomarker and a pungent attractant were distributed over an area of 60 sq km in a communal land in Manicaland with a dog population of over 500. Twenty-four hours later 21 per cent of the baits were recovered and 79 per cent of these had been significantly bitten or chewed. Twenty-five per cent of the dogs examined showed evidence of superficial staining by rhodamine B indicating that they had chewed baits or ingested their contents. It was concluded that the system would deliver an oral vaccine to dog populations more efficiently than had been the case in comparable studies in wildlife populations, but that the number of baits per unit area should in future studies be increased.
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