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Fox rabies was first recorded in France in March 1968, and remained a problem until 1998. In the course of the first two decades and despite the control measures applied, rabies expanded both in terms of the enzootic surface area and number of cases. The measures applied consisted of actions aimed at reducing fox population density, the mandatory vaccination of domestic carnivores in the officially infected areas, and use of human prophylaxis. Following the large scale implementation of oral vaccination of foxes, starting 1989-1990, the rabies front was pushed back and yearly incidence decreased until rabies was eliminated at the end of 1998. The comparison of results obtained during both periods of applying various strategies is spectacular. France remains exposed to the risk from bat rabies on one hand, and from accidental cases of canine rabies imported from enzootic countries, on the other.


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