Rabies Vaccines Dropped Over Northeastern Maine

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 12:04 PM EDT
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The annual raccoon rabies vaccination program has begun.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services will begin its annual rabies vaccination program, in cooperation with the Maine CDC. They will distribute approximately 385,000 oral rabies vaccine baits across northeastern Maine from August 6 through August 10.

“We are trying to prevent the further spread of rabies into other areas of Maine as well as into areas of new Brunswick and so the process involved in distributing these baits is we use aircraft to distribute them. We’re flying at a low altitude, about 500 feet altitude and we’re distributing the vaccine packets from those airplanes in all the rural areas throughout the baiting region. The bait packets are safe, they’ve been tested in numerous species including dogs, cats, and domestic livestock and so the best thing that people can do if possible is just to leave those baits alone and allow raccoons and other wildlife to pick them up out in the environment” - Jordona Kirby – Field Coordinator, USDA Wildlife Services National Rabies Management Program

The baits are fishmeal-coated cubes about one to two inches in size. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits but should not touch or move them. While dogs may get an upset stomach if they eat a large number of baits, there are no known long-term health risks. If skin contact with baits occurs, rinse the area affected with warm water and soap.

The distribution area includes places such as Houlton, Mars Hill, Oxbow, Patten, and Weston among a number of areas in Penobscot County.

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