Rabies: oral vaccination of wild animals

Oral vaccination of foxes and raccoon dogs against rabies has proven effective in controlling the disease in wildlife across the European Union, says EFSA.

Rabies in Europe occurs predominately among wildlife species, with foxes and raccoon dogs accounting for most of all rabies cases. Therefore, eliminating rabies in these species is crucial.  

In a scientific opinion updating a previous report on oral vaccination against rabies, experts from EFSA’s Animal Health and Welfare Panel identify rabies control strategies, regular vaccinations and good cooperation among neighbouring countries as key measures.

Key figures:

  • Reported cases in wild animals in the EU dropped from 3,748 in 2003 to 215 in 2014.
  • Reported cases in domestic animals in the EU fell from 800 to 65 in 2014.
  • Since 2003, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Austria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have acquired the rabies-free status.