Ag News

APHIS to spread rabies vaccine baits in selected areas


Posted on Oct 12, 2023 at 20:48 PM

In August, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) began its annual distribution of RABORAL V-RG, an oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait, in select areas in the eastern United States to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies into America’s heartland. Distribution in and around Dalton and Chattanooga is set to occur in October.

Rabies is a serious public health concern. While rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear, it also is 100% preventable. Human exposure can be successfully remedied if medical attention is sought immediately following exposure. Costs associated with rabies detection, prevention and control may exceed $500 million annually in the United States. According to the CDC, about 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the U.S. are in wildlife.

APHIS’ Wildlife Services (WS) and its cooperators will begin distributing ORV baits on August 5 across rural areas by airplane and in suburban or urban areas by helicopter, vehicle, and bait station. ORV baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and are packaged in two-inch plastic sachets or one-inch square cubes. To see photos of the vaccination baits, please visit

The Dalton project will cover areas in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, distributing approximately 840,000 ORV baits by airplane and helicopter. APHIS will also distribute ONRAB in the Greater Chattanooga, Tennessee area in tandem with RABORAL V-RG.

The RABORAL V-RG vaccine is safe for many animals, including domestic dogs and cats. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits but if they encounter them, they should leave them undisturbed. Dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach, but there are no long-term health risks. If adults or children come in contact with baits, immediately rinse the contact area with warm water and soap.

Click here for additional information concerning rabies or the ORV program or contact Wildlife Services toll free at 1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).

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