February 27, 2024

Douglas County Health Department distributing oral rabies vaccine baits to prevent spread of disease

The Douglas County Health Department is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of a rare variant of rabies after a kitten tested positive for the disease. In an effort to combat this potential threat, the department will be distributing oral rabies vaccine baits throughout a 62 square mile area in Douglas County.

These baits, about the size of ketchup packets, will be strategically placed in grassy areas, woods, along fence lines, and in landscaping. Covered in a fish meal attractant, the baits are designed to entice raccoons, which are the primary carriers of rabies in this region. This is the first time these bait packets are being utilized in the state, showcasing the innovative approach of the health department.

Collaborating closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the health department has already been engaged in trapping and vaccinating raccoons in the eastern part of the county. This latest effort with oral rabies baits aims to complement existing strategies, ensuring a comprehensive approach to combating raccoon rabies.

It is important to note that these baits pose no harm to animals or people. However, if individuals come across a bait, health experts recommend using gloves and a plastic bag or paper towel to move it to a grassy area. This precautionary measure is crucial in preventing accidental consumption of the vaccine bait.

Since the discovery of the infected kitten, there have been no reported cases of rabies in animals. Nonetheless, the health department remains vigilant in their surveillance efforts, including trapping and testing raccoons in a three-mile radius of the area where the kitten was found.

By implementing this oral rabies vaccination program, the Douglas County Health Department is taking proactive steps to protect both wildlife and the local community. Through collaboration with national organizations and the innovative use of vaccine baits, they aim to prevent the potential spread of raccoon rabies and ultimately create a safer environment for all residents.

Stay updated on the latest developments regarding this important public health initiative by visiting the Shiv Telegram Media website.