Cape Cod Rabies Vaccine Bait Distribution to Begin

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Raccoon rabies vaccination baits.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO
Raccoon rabies vaccination baits.

BOURNE – The Cape Cod Rabies Task Force will continue its program of distributing oral rabies vaccine baits in the hopes of reducing and managing raccoon rabies cases on the Cape.

The last case of rabies reported on Cape Cod was in 2013 in Hyannis.

Beginning on April 18 and running through May, the task force will distribute 39,000 baits from the Canal to the Yarmouth/Dennis town line.

The program initially ran from 1994 to 2004, and in March 2004 the first case of rabies was detected on Cape Cod, indicating a breach in the vaccine barrier. For this reason and to increase the effectiveness of the program for Cape wildlife, this year the program will extend into Plymouth County.

“We are now working our way across the Canal and creating a buffer on the mainland side like we had prior to the barrier breach,” Cape Cod Rabies Task Force Chairman Karl vonHone said.

The vaccine is contained in baits that have a strong fish smell which attracts raccoons, but can also attract other animals, including dogs.

“We do ask people to keep their dogs on a leash because every bait that a dog gets at is a bait that’s lost that could’ve gone to a raccoon, fox or coyote,” Wildlife Biologist Brian Bjorklund said.

The baits are not harmful to animals, as no ill effects aside from upset stomach have been reported in dogs.

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