Geographical information systems in the management of the 2009-2010 emergency oral anti-rabies vaccination of foxes in north-eastern Italy

Paolo Mulatti, Nicola Ferrè, Tommaso Patregnani, Lebana Bonfanti, Stefano Marangon
  • Paolo Mulatti
    Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, Padua, Italy | pmulatti@izsvenezie.it
  • Nicola Ferrè
    Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, Padua, Italy
  • Tommaso Patregnani
    Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, Padua, Italy
  • Lebana Bonfanti
    Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, Padua, Italy
  • Stefano Marangon
    Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro, Padua, Italy

Abstract

Emergency oral fox vaccination campaigns, targeting a recent rabies epidemic in wild foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in north-eastern Italy, were implemented twice, first in the winter of 2009 and then in the spring of 2010. Following on an unsuccessful manual bait distribution campaign, vaccine baits were aerially distributed by helicopters using a satellite-navigated, computer-supported, automatic bait drop system. The flight paths were traced with distance of 500-1,000 m from one another to optimise helicopter missions and guarantee homogeneous coverage of the vaccination area. The vaccine distribution was evaluated by superimposing a 1 km-step grid and weighing the number of baits per cell. The implementation of a geographical information system for the management of vaccine distribution proved to be useful, both for the planning and execution phases, of the campaigns. It supported effective management of the flights and allowed near real-time monitoring of the campaigns. In addition, it facilitated the identification of areas with suboptimal bait density that would require additional flights or supplementary, manual distribution.

Keywords

rabies, foxes, wildlife, aerial vaccination, geographical information systems, Italy.

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Submitted: 2014-12-19 10:06:41
Published: 2011-05-01 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2011 Paolo Mulatti, Nicola Ferrè, Tommaso Patregnani, Lebana Bonfanti, Stefano Marangon

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