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Citation. Preston, E. M. 1973. Computer simulated dynamics of a rabies-controlled fox population. Journal of Wildlife Management 37(4):501-512. [1471 CC]
Abstract. Computer simulation was used to examine epizootiology of rabies in the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). A hypothetical fox population was defined by age, sex, and location of its members. Reproduction and the quality and quantity of animal movements were simulated in accordance with available information. Rabies was the sole mortality source. The annual rabies cycle produced by the computer model was similar to that observed in the U.S. and Ontario, Canada. Its temporal dynamics were primarily determined by the relative number of susceptibles available at different times of the year. Population mixing associated with juvenile dispersal had only a nominal influence on the rabies incidence pattern. The simulation suggest that the 3-year rabies cycle reported in Europe and Ontario, Canada could be inherent consequence of interactions between red fox life history and the rabies transmission mechanism. This however, is probably not true for the 4- to 5-year cycles reported from areas where fox populations are primarily limited by factors other than rabies. The bite transmission mechanism appears to be well adapted to fox populations having low interindividual contact rates. In the simulations, each infective rabid fox needed to contact slightly more than 1.25 percent of the susceptible individuals in the vicinity of its travel path for rabies to become enzootic.
Keywords. red fox, Vulpes vulpes, computer simulation, rabies transmission