16th Annual Rabies Bait Drop Begins August 15

For Immediate Release: Aug. 6, 2012
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON – New sweet-smelling baits rather than fishmeal-flavored morsels are being used for the first time this year for the 16th annual rabies bait drop.

Rabies Bait Drop Sample“The goal of the bait drop is to prevent the northern spread of raccoon rabies into Canada," said Health Department veterinarian Robert Johnson. “The new bait has shown favorable results in vaccinating not only raccoons, but skunks as well. Quebec has used this bait since 2008 and has not had a raccoon rabies strain case since 2009.”

Starting on Aug. 15 – Aug. 21 more than 227,000 baits will be air dropped from U.S. Department of Agriculture planes flying at low altitude (500 feet) over northern Vermont, and more than 15,000 baits will be hand placed (also beginning on Aug. 15) in rural areas of communities where wildlife is common.

The baits cannot cause rabies and are not harmful to children or pets if touched or eaten, but the packets (about the size of a quarter) should not be handled. If a bait is discovered on a lawn or driveway, use a plastic bag or glove to place it in a wooded or brushy area where a raccoon or skunk can find it. After moving the bait, wash your hands with soap and water.

Thirty-one animals have tested positive for rabies so far in 2012, an increase from 28 animals who tested positive in 2011. There has never been a human case of rabies reported to the Vermont Department of Health.

Steps you can take to prevent rabies:

For more information on rabies prevention efforts in Vermont visit: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/rabies/Rabies.aspx.

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