What is the goal of the ORVP?
The goal of the ORVP is to contain two rabies epizootics which began in 1988: the canine rabies epizootic in South Texas (primarily in coyotes and domestic dogs) and the gray fox rabies epizootic in West-Central Texas. This is being accomplished by establishing a zone of vaccinated target wildlife along the leading edges of each epizootic.
What type of vaccine is used in the ORVP?
An oral rabies vaccine, Raboral V-RG, is distributed with a bait attractant for uptake by coyotes and gray foxes. Although the vaccine is not harmful if ingested, it is not approved for protection against rabies in domestic animals.
The vaccine combines a non-pathogenic (non-pathogenic in most immune-competent individuals) virus (vaccinia) with a small portion of the RNA from the rabies virus . This RNA codes for the G-protein of the rabies virus which stimulates an immune response in the vaccinated animal without the usual exposure to the entire rabies virus.
What are the dangers to humans and other animals?
: Extensive research in a wide variety of species has shown the vaccine to be very safe. The vaccine is made by utilizing the most current technology, and only non-infectious portions of the rabies virus are used. Therefore, neither humans nor animals are in danger of developing rabies if they are exposed to the vaccine.
However, it is advised that physicians consider the possibility of complications due to exposure to vaccinia, particularly if the person is immunocompromised or has dermatological conditions such as eczema. Although it is unlikely for any illness to occur, the DSHS can assist in obtaining vaccinia immune globulin if necessary.
A domestic animal's annual rabies vaccination can be safely administered even if it recently ingested a dose of oral rabies vaccine.
: The bait itself is made of dog food or fish meal mixed with a non-toxic bonding agent; tetracycline is added as a biomarker. The bait poses no danger to human or animal health.
When is the vaccine distributed?
The program in South Texas for coyotes has been ongoing since 1995; the program in West-Central Texas for gray foxes has been ongoing since 1996. Vaccine distribution begins in early January of each year and continues for approximately 4 weeks depending on the weather.
Where is the vaccine placed?
The vaccine distribution areas vary per year and upon the location of rabies cases during the previous year; however, it is generally distributed in far South Texas and West-Central Texas. Maps of the various distribution areas per year are posted at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/rabies/orvp/.
What does the bait look like?
The baits are brown three-dimensional rectangles measuring 11/4" X 11/4" X 3/4" or coated sachets 2" x 0.75" x 0.12". The vaccine is contained in a plastic packet in the hollow center of the bait. Printed on each bait is a warning (in English) that states:
LIVE VACCINIA VECTOR
DO NOT DISTURB
Any additional measures that need to be taken?
The Zoonosis Control Branch would appreciate the DSHS physician notifying the ORVP director at (512) 776-7111 of any potential exposures, including the name and phone number of the person who had contact with or ingested the vaccine.