Annual Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination Program Begins

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help prevent the spread of rabies. Oral rabies vaccine will be distributed by helicopter throughout Western North Carolina for wild raccoons. Please click here for more information.

Here are precautions to take from the USDA Wildlife Services program:

Although the oral rabies vaccine products are safe, the USDA Wildlife Services program has issued these precautions:

  • If you or your pet find a bait, leave it where you found it unless it is on your lawn, driveway or other area unlikely to attract raccoons. While wearing a glove or other barrier, you can move the bait to an area of thicker cover where raccoons are more likely to find it and pets are less likely to encounter it.
  • Eating the baits won’t harm your pet but consuming several baits might upset your pet’s stomach.
  • Do not try to remove an oral rabies vaccine packet from your pet’s mouth, as you could be bitten.
  • Wear gloves or use a towel when you pick up bait. While there is no harm in touching undamaged baits, they have a strong fishmeal smell.
  • Instruct children to leave baits alone. If a bait is ingested by a child or adult, call 1-866-4-USDA-WS. NCDHHS has never received a report of a human ingesting a bait packet.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance the vaccine packet has ruptured.
  • A warning label on each bait advises people not to touch the bait and contains the rabies information line telephone number.

For more information on rabies prevention or the oral rabies vaccine program, call the USDA Wildlife Services toll-free rabies line at 1-866-487-3297 or the NCDHHS Division of Public Health at 919-733-3419.