The 2019 Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination Project supported by Anne Arundel County and the Anne Arundel County Police Department which began on August 29 will be a month long event with the goal to immunize thousands of raccoons. This will be achieved by placing about 84,500 rabies vaccine baits around the County.
Rabies is a fatal viral infection and public health risk. It posses significant danger to humans and pet who come in contact with rabid animals. Raccoons live close to us, they feed on waste food, dig up trash cans and can attack humans when feel threatened.
Throughout this vaccination project, two types of vaccine baits will be used. These are baits licensed as safe by the U.S Department of Agriculture and successfully used in Maryland since 1998 to control raccoon rabies.
One (made of fishmeal and polymers) looks like a small brown brick. It is approximately 0.75 inches thick by 1.25 inches square and contains a small plastic bag of the liquid rabies vaccine, Raboral V-RG. The raccoon must bite into the bag to be vaccinated. The second is similar to a condiment packet (such as ketchup), which has been coated with a waxy fishmeal attractant for raccoons. Inside the packet is the liquid rabies vaccine. The raccoon must bite into the packet to be vaccinated.
These Baits are placed by ground teams in likely raccoon habitats in Anne Arundel County neighborhoods. The bait teams wear shirts with Department of Health logos and travel in marked County vehicles.
In addition, the Anne Arundel County Police helicopter distributes baits in less populated areas and sometimes flies at low altitudes during the distribution.
According to the County’s Health Department, if you don’t want the bait near your home, use gloves or put a plastic bag over your hands to pick it up and toss it into the woods. Then, wash your hands. Bare hand contact with the bait alone is not a concern; however, it does have a strong fish odor, so hand washing is recommended.
Also, placement of baits began on August 29 and will be completed by the end of September. During this time and for at least two additional weeks, it is recommended that pets be kept indoors or on leashes outside. This will allow enough time for raccoons to eat the bait. If your pet does find the bait, discard the bait in the trash. Wear rubber gloves or put a plastic bag over your hands when discarding. Wash your hands after handling the bait and report any contact with the vaccine liquid to the Department of Health at 410-222-1423.
For more information and answers to questions, reach out to Anne Arundel County Department of Health website or call 410 – 222- 1423