Rabies Task Force To Distribute Oral Vaccine Baits

BARNSTABLE – The Cape Cod & Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services are notifying residents that oral rabies vaccine baits will be distributed across Barnstable and Plymouth Counties beginning on May 6.

A federally-owned helicopter will be observable as 75,000 baits are distributed in a zone spanning the towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Carver, Falmouth, Kingston, Lakeville, Marion, Middleboro, Plymouth, Rochester, Sandwich, and Wareham; an area consistent with baiting operations in 2022 and 2023.

Ground operations will also be conducted by town, county, and federal employees during this period, which will last through May 10.

Yearly vaccine distributions have been in heightened effect since May 2021, when the first raccoon-variant rabies case on Cape Cod in over eight years was documented in Hyannis, prompting the catch and vaccination of over 700 regional raccoons, which were released at the site of capture.

Despite the potential to cause stomach irritation in pets, humans and pets cannot acquire rabies from contact with oral vaccine baits.

Nonetheless, those coming into contact with the baits are asked to leave them undisturbed and the task force is reminding the public that translocation of wildlife in these areas is both prohibited and detrimental to efforts to prevent the spread of rabies and other zoonotic diseases.

In the event that contact with a bait occurs, wash the area of contact with warm water and dial 877-722-6725.

About Matthew Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is a Cape Cod native studying to be a documentarian. He has been with the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since 2021.

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