During 1996 to 1998, an average of 52% to 55% of the raccoon (Procyon lotor) population on Wolfe Island, Ontario was vaccinated against rabies during proactive trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) operations. However, during 1999, the percent of the population vaccinated declined to 39% and an outbreak (6 cases) of raccoon rabies occurred on the island from December 1999 to January 2000. The raccoon population on Wolfe Island declined dramatically (71% reduction) from 1,067 raccoons (mean density=8.4/km2 [6.4–12.4, 95% CI]) during 1999 to 305 raccoons (mean density=2.4/km2 [0.87–4.1, 95% CI]) in the spring of 2000. Raccoon density immediately following the outbreak was significantly lower in cells with rabies cases, suggesting that rabies had a negative effect on population size. However, raccoon density had doubled by 1 yr following the outbreak. Movement of raccoons on Wolfe Island was as great as 24 km. Male raccoons moved greater distances than females. Movements to surrounding islands were also noted for raccoons ear tagged on Wolfe Island which indicates the island could serve as a focus for greater geographic rabies spread. Point infection control (PIC) during 2000, TVR during 2001–02, and the aerial distribution of Vaccinia-Rabies Glycoprotein (V-RG) baits during 2000 and 2003–05 were used to eliminate rabies from Wolfe Island. No cases have been detected since late January 2000 (to February 2007).
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Vol. 43 • No. 2