Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service

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Riverdale, MD 20737
Voice 301-851-4100
News Release

USDA Begins 2016 Oral Rabies Vaccine Efforts in Eastern United States

Pamela Boehland (301) 851-4093
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2016— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is releasing the schedule for its 2016 distribution of oral rabies vaccine baits. APHIS conducts this program each fall in select areas in the eastern United States to prevent the further spread of raccoon rabies other regions.

APHIS’ Wildlife Services and cooperators will begin distributing baits by aircraft and by vehicle beginning on or about Aug. 8, 2016. The baits are distributed across rural areas by airplane and in suburban or urban areas by helicopter or vehicle. The baits will be distributed in the following select areas and time periods:

In Northeast to Mid-Atlantic states, between August 8 and early-September: 

In Massachusetts during September and early October: 

In southern states, between late September and mid-October: 

The National Rabies Management Program was established in 1998 in recognition that the primary human risk of rabies is now due to exposure from wildlife rather than domestic pets. The goal of the program is to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies and eventually eliminate terrestrial rabies in the United States through an integrated program that includes vaccinating wildlife against the disease.

RABORAL V-RG® oral rabies vaccine baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and may be packaged in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets. For photos of the vaccination baits, visit

The RABORAL V-RG® vaccine has been shown to be safe in more than 60 different species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits, but are asked to leave them undisturbed if they encounter them. Dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach, but no long-term health risks. If contact with baits occurs, immediately rinse the contact area with warm water and soap.

Rabies is caused by a virus that infects the central nervous system in mammals. Signs suggestive of rabies include unusual, aggressive or calm and “friendly” behavior, an inability to eat or drink, balance problems, circling, seizures, coma and finally death. While rabies is fatal once symptoms occur, human exposures can be successfully treated if post-exposure follow up is sought immediately following a bite.

Since 1995, Wildlife Services National Rabies Management Program has been working cooperatively with local, state and federal governments, universities and other partners to address this public health problem by distributing oral rabies vaccination baits in targeted areas. This cooperative program targets the raccoon variant in the eastern United States, and unique variants of rabies in coyotes and foxes in Texas. 

For additional information on the raccoon oral rabies vaccine program, please visit the APHIS website or call 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).


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