Rabies is an ongoing disease issue in the U.S. While farmers and ranchers were most concerned about infected dogs biting cattle 20 years ago, that’s not the case today. A bite from an infected wild animal, such as a fox or raccoon, is the more common method of infection in cattle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 90% of reported rabies cases in the U.S. are in wildlife.
To address the problem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will began its annual distribution of Raboral V-RG, an oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait, in select states in parts of the East, South and Southwest to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies into the Midwest.
An APHIS news release reports that the ORV baits will be distributed in these select areas and time periods:
In Northeast to Mid-Atlantic states during August:
• The Houlton, ME, project will cover parts of northern Maine and distribute approximately 385,000 ORV baits by airplane and vehicle;
• The Allegheny, PA, project will cover the Greater Pittsburgh region of western Pennsylvania and distribute approximately 309,000 ORV baits by helicopter and vehicle;
• The North Lima, OH, project will cover parts of western Pennsylvania and distribute 198,000 ORV baits by airplane;
• The Upshur, WV, project will cover parts of western Pennsylvania, southwestern Virginia, and West Virginia and distribute approximately 740,000 ORV baits by airplane and vehicle.
In Southern states, during October:
• The Abingdon, VA, project will cover parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia and distribute more than 881,000 ORV baits by airplane, helicopter and vehicle;
• The Dalton, GA, project will cover parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, distributing approximately 989,000 ORV baits by airplane and helicopter;
• The Guntersville, AL, project will cover parts of Alabama (including the Greater Birmingham area) and distribute approximately 855,000 baits by airplane, helicopter, and vehicle.
The vaccine has been deemed safe in more than 60 different species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. People should leave the baits undisturbed if they are encountered. Dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach, but there are no long-term health risks, APHIS reports.
Costs associated with rabies detection, prevention and control may exceed $500 million annually in the United States.
For more information on the ORV program and a map showing the states where the baits will be placed, go to https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/programs/nrmp
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