The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) has started the autumn oral vaccination of foxes against rabies. Vaccination will be carried out by specially equipped aircraft and by hand. It will cover the 50-kilometer zone along the northern, western, and southern land borders of the country, as well as the 20-kilometer zone along the Danube River. The campaign will cover 23 districts. In no-fly zones, as well as near water bodies and populated areas, vaccines will be applied manually. Lures will be scattered from about 1.5 mil. from the air on the territory of the regions of Pernik, Kyustendil, Smolyan, Kardjali, Haskovo, Dobrich, Silistra, Vidin, Montana, Blagoevgrad, Pazardzhik, Yambol, Burgas, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Sofia region, the surroundings of Sofia-city, Shumen, Razgrad, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Pleven and Vratsa. Near the Kozloduy NPP and Sofia, the baits will be spread manually by specially trained people.
Vaccine baits are cube-shaped and have a specific smell that attracts predators. Veterinarians recommend not touching them with unprotected hands, because if the integrity of the shell is broken, the vaccine can be dangerous to human health. In case of contact with the lures, it is good to consult a doctor.
Vaccines do not pose a health risk to other wild animals. It is recommended that pets be kept confined or on a leash to prevent them from taking the baits. The control of the carried out vaccination includes: control of the reception of vaccine baits by the foxes through the detection of the biomarker tetracycline and serological surveillance, through the detection of antibodies against the rabies virus in blood samples of vaccinated animals.
The BABH reminds that rabies is a dangerous viral disease that affects all mammals and humans, with a fatal outcome. Wild predators are the main reservoir of rabies in our country, mainly foxes and, to a lesser extent, jackals. Vaccination is part of the Program for Prevention, Surveillance, Control and Eradication of Rabies, which was developed and implemented by the BABH since 2009. Bulgaria’s strategy for the prevention and eradication of the disease includes oral vaccination of foxes and annual vaccination of dogs.