In May, the first raccoon-variant rabies case in over 8 years was documented in Hyannis on Cape Cod. In response, the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services (USDA WS) implemented an emergency trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) campaign throughout the mid-Cape to prevent the disease from spreading. Close to 700 unique raccoons have been live captured, vaccinated against rabies, tagged, and released.
To further mitigate the potential for disease spread, the distribution of oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits on the Cape Cod will occur from July 12 to July 23 in the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, and Orleans (see figure 1 - shaded in orange). Approximately 69,900 ORV baits will be distributed Cape-wide; 57,000 will be distributed via helicopter and 12,900 will be distributed by hand (ground vehicles). In Brewster, aerial operations will begin on July 13 and will last for approximately 4 days, weather permitting. Two low-flying federally owned aircraft may be observed by the public during this time frame. The helicopters will fly approximately 300 feet above ground level while distributing bait. The aircraft will be either red and black or white and orange. Ground operations will be conducted by town, county, and federal employees as well as volunteers and will begin on July 12, continuing for up to two weeks.
Summer 2021 proposed rotary wing emergency ORV Area
If you find a vaccine/bait packet:
- Use a glove or towel to pick it up. Throw it into the woods where children and pets will not find it. If no suitable place is available, dispose of the bait in the trash.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the vaccine/bait package.
- If your pet has eaten or had contact with a bait, it is not harmful to them, but please report the contact to: MA Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800.
- If you or another person has had contact with the liquid vaccine, wash the area thoroughly and call the MA Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800.
For more information on the Cape Cod Oral Rabies Vaccination Program.