Beginning in early August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been conducting its annual fall distribution of RABORAL V-RG®, an oral rabies vaccine bait, in select areas in the eastern United States to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies into America’s heartland.
APHIS’ Wildlife Services and its cooperators will begin distributing oral rabies vaccine baits on or about August 6 across rural areas by airplane and in suburban or urban areas by helicopter, vehicle and bait station. Oral rabies baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and are packaged in two-inch plastic sachets or one-inch square cubes.
Wildlife Services and cooperators will distribute the baits in select areas and time periods as follows:
In Northeast to Mid-Atlantic States during August:
- The Houlton, Maine, project will cover parts of northern Maine and distribute approximately 348,000 ORV baits by airplane and vehicle.
- The Upshur, W.Va., project will cover parts of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and a small area in southwestern Virginia, distributing approximately 535,000 ORV baits by airplane and vehicle.
In Massachusetts from mid-September through mid-October:
- The Cape Cod, Mass., project will cover parts of peninsular Massachusetts and distribute more than 70,000 ORV baits by helicopter, bait station and vehicle.
In Southern states, during October:
- The Abingdon, Va., project will cover parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia and distribute more than 880,000 ORV baits by airplane, helicopter, and vehicle.
- The Dalton, Ga., project will cover parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, distributing approximately 820,000 ORV baits by airplane and helicopter.
- The Gadsden, Ala., project will cover parts of Alabama (including the Greater Birmingham area) and distribute approximately 1.1 million baits by airplane, helicopter, and vehicle.
Rabies is a serious public health concern. While rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear, it also is 100% preventable. Human exposures can be successfully remedied if medical attention is sought immediately following exposure. Costs associated with rabies detection, prevention and control may exceed $500 million annually in the United States. According to the CDC, about 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the U.S. are in wildlife.
For additional information concerning rabies or the ORV program, please visit the National Rabies Management Program website or contact Wildlife Services (in the U.S.) at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).