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USDA Begins 2022 Oral Rabies Vaccine Efforts in Eastern United States

photo of raccoons in a tree

Contacts:
Tanya Espinosa (301) 851-4092
Suzanne Bond (301) 851-4070

WASHINGTON, August 5, 2022— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will begin its annual distribution of RABORAL V-RG®, an oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait, in select areas in the eastern United States to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies into America’s heartland.

APHIS’ Wildlife Services (WS) and its cooperators will begin distributing ORV baits on or about August 6 across rural areas by airplane and in suburban or urban areas by helicopter, vehicle and bait station. ORV baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and are packaged in two-inch plastic sachets or one-inch square cubes. To see photos of the vaccination baits, please visit www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/sets/72157623983143606/.

WS and cooperators will distribute ORV baits in select areas and time periods as follows:

In Northeast to Mid-Atlantic States during August:

  • The Houlton, Maine, project will cover parts of northern Maine and distribute approximately 348,000 ORV baits by airplane and vehicle.
  • The Upshur, W.Va., project will cover parts of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and a small area in southwestern Virginia, distributing approximately 535,000 ORV baits by airplane and vehicle.

In Massachusetts from mid-September through mid-October:

  • The Cape Cod, Mass., project will cover parts of peninsular Massachusetts and distribute more than 70,000 ORV baits by helicopter, bait station and vehicle.

In Southern states, during October:

  • The Abingdon, Va., project will cover parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia and distribute more than 880,000 ORV baits by airplane, helicopter, and vehicle.
  • The Dalton, Ga., project will cover parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, distributing approximately 820,000 ORV baits by airplane and helicopter.
  • The Gadsden, Ala., project will cover parts of Alabama (including the Greater Birmingham area) and distribute approximately 1.1 million baits by airplane, helicopter, and vehicle.

    The RABORAL V-RG® vaccine has been deemed 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 should leave them 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. If adults or children come in contact with baits, immediately rinse the contact area with warm water and soap.

Rabies is a serious public health concern. While rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear, it also is 100% preventable. Human exposures can be successfully remedied if medical attention is sought immediately following exposure. Costs associated with rabies detection, prevention and control may exceed $500 million annually in the United States. According to the CDC, about 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the U.S. are in wildlife.

For additional information concerning rabies or the ORV program, please visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/programs/nrmp or contact WS toll free at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).


USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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