Cape Cod Rabies Task Force Resumes Rabies Vaccine Distribution

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod Rabies Task Force is continuing to work with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to distribute oral rabies vaccination baits.

Over 70,000 baits will be distributed on mainland Massachusetts this season, and almost 20,000 baits will be distributed from the Cape Cod Canal to towns such as Falmouth, Mashpee, and Barnstable.

Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Brian Bjorklund said the bait distribution has worked well, explaining why the number of baits on the Cape have been decreased from a high of nearly 28,000.

“As of today, we have not had a single case of raccoon rabies southeast of the Cape Cod Canal for six and a half years. So, the baiting program has been hugely successful,” Bjorklund said.

One way citizens can reduce the risk of rabies is not moving animals such as raccoons from their property to other areas.

Bjorklund said that doing so would put these animals in an unfamiliar ecosystem and would leave another group of people to deal with a possible problem.

“We suspect that one of the reasons rabies first came to the Cape to start with was potentially a re-located raccoon or skunk from the mainland down to the Cape,” Bjorklund continued.

“We’d like to do everything that we can to prevent that in the future.”

ORV baits will be distributed throughout the fall. To learn more, click here.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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