Treat mammals to reduce conflict caused by disease transmission to humans
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Outbreaks of diseases that can be spread between animals and humans (zoonotic diseases) may result in calls for lethal control of the relevant carrier species. Motivations for lethal control may be reduced if the prevalence of diseases or parasites can be reduced by carrying out treatments in wild populations. This intervention specifically considers ways of reducing the risk of disease transmission to humans rather than ways of reducing the direct impact of disease on wild mammal populations.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A controlled, before-and-after study from 2005–2007 in rural and urban areas in Starnberg, Germany (König et al. 2008) found that following a worming programme, proportions of red foxes Vulpes vulpes infested with small fox tapeworm Echinococcus multicularis decreased. From four to 15 months after worming, a lower proportion of foxes (0.8%) was infested with tapeworms than was infested in untreated areas (33%). Before worming, the proportion infested was similar in areas to be treated (35%) and not treated (43%). From December 2005–March 2007, fox baits (Droncit®) laced with 50 mg of praziquantel were distributed by air in agricultural and recreational areas and by hand in towns and villages. Baits were distributed once every four weeks, over a 213-km2 area, at a density of 50 baits/km2. Additional bait was left around 100 den sites in January–February and June–August. No bait was distributed in a 238-km2 control area. Tapeworm infestation levels were diagnosed in dissected foxes killed by hunters (133 before baiting and 123 after baiting). Small fox tapeworm causes alveolar echinococcosis in humans.Study and other actions tested
Referenced paperKönig A., Romig T., Janko C., Hildenbrand R., Holzhofer E., Kotulski Y., Ludt C., Merli M., Eggenhofer S., Thoma D., Vilsmeier J. & Zannantonio D. (2008) Integrated-baiting concept against Echinococcus multilocularis in foxes is successful in southern Bavaria, Germany. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 54, 439-447