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Vaccine Baits Distributed Due to Rising Rabies Cases
Ohio Ag Connection - 05/17/2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services along with the Ohio Department of Health will be distributing vaccine baits during the month of May.

The oral vaccine bait is called ONRAB and it consists of a blister pack filled with the vaccine and coated with a sweet attractant, reports WKBN.

The vaccine baits will be dropped from the sky through fixed wing aircraft or by helicopter.

ONRAB has been distributed in parts of Ohio since 2012. This was done to evaluate the safety and immune effects of the ORV bait in raccoons and skunks.

The spring ORV bait distribution will start May 19 and continue through approximately May 24 in portions of Carroll, Columbiana, Mahoning, Stark, and Tuscarawas counties.

Residents of Alliance, Canton, East Canton, Malvern, Minerva, Sebring, and Waynesburg may see low-flying aircraft (planes and helicopters) dropping the baits.

Approximately 155,000 ORV baits will be distributed and the effort will be repeated in August 2018 as part of a larger rabies baiting project.

According to a press release, the ONRAB bait has been shown to be safe in many species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. They also say humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the ORV baits, but are asked not to touch them if you come across them.

The reason for the vaccine bait is due to increased reports of rabies-positive animals.

If anyone comes into contact with a raccoon sick acting or behaving strange, they are asked to report the animal. Raccoons do not normally come out during the day, other 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.

The public is also asked to report any dead raccoons, including ones hit by a vehicle. USDA biologists or specialists will respond and remove the animal or carcass to test it for rabies

You can report these incidents by calling 330-726-3386 or your local county health department.

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