Rabies Bait Drop to Begin Again In Mid-August

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2003

Media Contact: Corbett Sionainn
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-5153

BURLINGTON—Efforts continue to keep raccoon rabies from spreading north.

For the 7th year, the rabies research project will begin with another rabies bait drop scheduled in mid-August.

The bait is dropped from low-flying planes in rural areas and distributed by hand in residential areas. Bait will be dropped over Grand Isle, Franklin, Chittenden, Lamoille, Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex counties in Vermont and Coos County in New Hampshire.

“So far, the Vermont bait drops have been successful in keeping raccoon rabies from moving into Canada,” stated Public Health Veterinarian Bob Johnson.

Oral rabies vaccine bait (pink liquid rabies vaccine contained in the center of fishmeal attractant) has been dropped in northern Vermont and New Hampshire each year for the past several years.

The bait is not harmful to people, pets or wildlife and contact with the bait does not cause rabies. However, officials are asking that the bait not be disturbed so raccoons can find and eat them.

The bait drop will assist scientists, including research veterinarians and wildlife biologists, in their efforts to keep rabies from spreading across the U.S. and Canadian border.

Raccoon rabies was confirmed in southern Vermont in 1994. Since then, hundreds of cases of rabies have been confirmed and the outbreak has spread northward.