Oral Rabies Vaccine – If You Care, Leave It There
The Maine CDC is asking anyone who comes across one of these little oral rabies vaccine tablets to leave it alone so animals will find it.
I know the saying, 'If you care, leave them there,' has come to be associated with young wildlife who have been left alone by their mothers. But it seems to apply in this case, as well. Rabies has been in the news a lot this year, with 42 confirmed cases so far in 13 counties, and we're only a little over halfway through. Animals who have been diagnosed with rabies include a bat, raccoons, striped skunks, gray foxes, an otter, a domestic cat, and a woodchuck.
So, next month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry will begin dropping these little pellets of oral rabies vaccine in the Northeastern Maine woods. The hope is that wild animals will come across the little nuggets, which are coated in brown fishmeal, and eat them. So the more of them that get left on the ground, the more animals will be immune to the disease.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that infects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. (although there hasn't been a confirmed case of human rabies since 1937) It's normally transmitted through a bite from an infected animal and is always always fatal. People can help protect themselves and their pets by keeping their pets' rabies vaccines up-to-date, feed pets indoors to avoid attracting rabid animals, and keeping garbage cans or other sources of food tightly covered. In addition, folks can bat-proof their homes, and avoid feeding or touching wild animals, as well as stray dogs and cats.
Anyone who thinks they've spotted a rabid animal can contact their local animal control officer or Wildlife Services at 1-866-487-3297.