2.3.5 What are indicator animals?

Indicator animals are those representatives which have a higher likelihood of being rabid. They are indigenous, exotic or imported mammals that: show clinical neurological signs; display aggressive or passive behaviors not commonly observed in that species; have lesions suggestive of abnormal fighting; and have bitten someone.

Therefore, animal surveillance programs should focus their sampling based on these behaviors and signs. In wildlife surveillance, these signs may be observed in live-trapped animals, as most carnivores are nocturnal and secretive. Observation of clinical signs suggestive of rabies in animals under natural conditions may be difficult, in particular wildlife. Road kills and animals found dead can be a valuable sample source in endemic areas as they have a higher likelihood of being rabid, and hence, should be included in surveillance activities. This targeted approach will meet the demands for both rabies-endemic and rabies-free countries.

JPEG - 28.4 kb
[en] Sampling road kill - photo USDA [fr] photo USDA

Keep in mind that testing healthy animals is likely to give negative results, and is therefore of very limited value (see section 2.3.1.; and section 2.3.6.).

previous page: 2.3.4. Do we need a minimum sample size for effective animal rabies surveillance?

next page: 2.3.6 Why is testing of healthy animals of no value?


Home | Contact | Site Map |
[en]Version 1 Last updated December 2014[fr]Première version, dernière mise à jour Juin 2015