Rabies Task Force Begins Cape Cod Rabies Baiting

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Raccoon rabies vaccination baits.

Raccoon rabies vaccination baits.

BOURNE – The Cape Cod Rabies Task Force began baiting on Cape Cod this week in an attempt to limit and manage cases of raccoon rabies.

Officials will distribute 39,000 baits in Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Dennis. Baiting off-Cape began two weeks ago.

The task force distributed 72,000 baits west of the canal.

The mainland received baiting this spring for the first time since 2003 as the Cape became the focus after rabies was discovered on the Cape in 2004.

There has not been a case of raccoon rabies east of Yarmouth since 2008 and there has not been a positive case on the Cape since 2013.

“We’ll also be baiting from the canal through the Bass River and a little bit of Dennis just to make sure that we are vaccinating absolutely everything that we can before we start to pull off a little bit on the Cape to focus more on the off-Cape,” said Brian Bjorklund, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

Anyone that finds a rabies vaccine or bait package is asked to use a glove or towel to pick it up and toss it into the woods where children and pets can’t get to it. If there is no suitable wooded area to put the bait, it should be disposed of in the trash.

Hands should be washed thoroughly after a bait is handled.

If a pet has eaten or had contact with a bait is should be reported to Bjorklund at 508-476-2956. The baits are not harmful to pets. The reported information is used to let those distributing the baits know that their baits may have not reached their targeted area.

The fishmeal coating may cause a pet to have an upset stomach.

Anyone that comes into contact with the liquid vaccine inside the bait should wash the area immediately and contact the Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.

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