5.6.3 How can we protect rabies-free areas or prevent re-infection of rabies?

To protect rabies-free areas or prevent re-infection of already freed areas one first has to identify and define rabies free areas according to international standards (see section 5.2.3). As a second step, zones for continued vaccination need to be identified by exploiting natural barriers and maintaining intensive surveillance (see section 5.2.1). ORV of foxes should be continued along borders with endemic areas by establishing a cordon sanitaire (vaccination belt) of a certain depth, either inside or outside the area under consideration, as long as the rabies situation persists in neighbouring endemic areas.

If ORV campaigns have already been implemented in neighbouring regions, it is advisable to keep an “inside” vaccination belt. Where neighbouring areas have not yet been treated, vaccination belts should be established outside the freed area as a priority. This strategy will have epidemiological advantages over “inside vaccination belts” by (i) guaranteeing “rabies-free” status for the entire freed area and (ii) initiating ORV programmes in endemic areas which have not yet been treated. The depth of the vaccination belts depends on the predominant passive and active movement patterns of foxes. A minimum depth of 50 km is advisable (see also here).


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Version 1 - Last updated November 2012