What can trappers do to reduce rabies transmission?

There has always been a risk of rabies transmission from foxes trapped in the enzootic (meaning always present at a low level, mainly in northern and western coastal regions) areas of Alaska. However, we now know it is more prevalent in 'normally trapped' red foxes (3% in 1 study), and in other species, such as wolf and wolverine, in regions beyond the coastal areas.

Trappers and hunters should always:

  • wear gloves when skinning animals,
  • wash any wounds thoroughly with soap and water,
  • avoid cutting into the brain, spinal cord, and salivary glands as much as possible, and
  • wash knives with soap and water immediately after skinning or severing the head
  • to prevent introduction of disease in other parts of Alaska, dispose of carcasses of trapped animals in the area they are taken, burn them or put them in a sanitary landfill that will be covered immediately.

For more rabies information, see A Field Guide to Common Wildlife Diseases and Parasites in Alaska: Rabies.

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