SouthCoast Wildlife Rabies Vaccine Distribution Starts This Month
Look out for low-flying helicopters, as a government task force will be distributing oral rabies vaccine bait for wildlife in communities around the SouthCoast and Cape Cod starting soon.
A release from the Cape Cod and Southeast Massachusetts Task Force notes that two types of oral rabies vaccination baits will be used: coated sachets and fishmeal polymer blocks.
The vaccines will be distributed mostly via helicopter but also via bait stations and, in some cases, motor vehicles.
A task force member stated that although the distribution dates have yet to be announced, in all likelihood on the SouthCoast baiting would begin the week of Sept. 13.
SouthCoast communities within the drop zone include parts of Bourne, Wareham, Rochester, Marion, Middleboro, and Lakeville as well as Sandwich, Plymouth, Carver, Kingston, and parts of Cape Cod.
The vaccine could potentially transmit vaccinia virus to humans who have direct contact with the vaccine liquid, particularly if contact is made with broken skin.
Residents are advised to use a glove or towel to pick up any bait packets or vaccines and throw them into the woods where children and pets are unlikely to find them.
If you have handled any bait packets or vaccines, wash your hands thoroughly.
The vaccines are not harmful to pets, but residents are asked to call Cape Cod Rabies Program Coordinator Brian Bjorklund at 508-476-2956 if contact occurs.
Update 9/13: This article has been updated to clarify that the few cases of viral infection among humans from contact with the vaccine were actually vaccinia virus infections, not rabies.
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