Rabies Task Force Continues Oral Vaccine Program

BOURNE – The Cape Cod and Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force will begin their spring distribution of oral rabies vaccine baits in Barnstable County starting next week.

The distribution program is scheduled to take place from May 18th to June 9th.

 The program plans to distribute close to 17,000 ORV baits through town, county and USDA officials, and an additional 2,600 ORV baits through bait stations.

“The bait is a fish-meal block coating around a coated sachet, and what happens is that a raccoon or another carnivore will come by, pick up that bait and bite through it, at which time their key to puncture through the sachet and the vaccine sprays on their gums, vaccinating the animal,” said Coordinator of the Cape Cod and Southeast Massachusetts Task force Brian Bjorklund.

Although the program began in 1994, after rabies was found in Provincetown in 2006, the task force began performing oral vaccinations twice a year in an attempt to rid the Cape of raccoon rabies completely.

“We have been able to essentially push Raccoon Rabies back over the canal, and we have not had a documented case of Raccoon Rabies on Cape Cod since 2013,” said Bjorklund.

The task force was beginning to distribute ORV baits around the mainland near the canal to create a buffer for the Cape in the event animals crossed the canal.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, plans for mainland distribution were rescheduled and the task force will be focused on Cape Cod this spring.     

The task force asks that if any members of the public or their pets find the baits either kick the baits into the woods or call 1-877-722-6725.

The task force also has a Facebook where new information is posted regularly.  


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