The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with several states to airdrop oral rabies vaccines to ‘combat the spread of rabies.’

The USDA in October “will airdrop millions of oral rabies vaccines (ORV) from planes in several states throughout the Southeast,” The Epoch Times reports.

“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. Starting this week, Wildlife Services will be distributing oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons in Western North Carolina,” the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release.

From the NCDHHS:

Beginning Oct. 4, 2023, baits containing the oral rabies vaccine will be aerially distributed in Alleghany, Ashe, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Macon, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Wilkes and Yancey Counties.

“Avoiding contact with wild animals and vaccinating our domestic animals and pets is the best way to prevent rabies, which can often be fatal,” said NCDHHS Deputy State Public Health Veterinarian Erica Berl, DVM, MPH. “The wildlife rabies vaccination program prevents the spread of rabies among animals in the wild, which in turn prevents humans, pets and other animals from becoming infected.”

The baits consist of a sachet, or plastic packet, containing the oral rabies vaccine. To make the baits attractive to raccoons, the packets are sprinkled with a fishmeal coating or encased inside hard fishmeal–polymer blocks about the size of a matchbox. When a raccoon bites into a bait, the vaccine packet is punctured, and the animal is exposed to the vaccine. This activates the animal’s immune system to produce antibodies that provide protection against rabies infection.

Anyone who comes in contact with the liquid vaccine should wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and call the phone number listed on the bait for further instructions and referral.

The Tennessee Department of Health also partnered with the USDA to airdrop rabies vaccines.

From WATE:

The Tennessee Department of Health has joined forces with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to combat the spread of rabies. Starting this October, the department will be dispersing rabies vaccine packets from the air along Tennessee’s borders with North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.

“Rabies control keeps people, pets, and livestock safe,” State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD said. “Our partnership with USDA Wildlife Services in this project reduces rabies in wildlife and protects communities.”

The vaccines will be distributed through sachet baits coated in an oily, fish-scented substance. The baits can be found by animals and then swallowed, leading to the development of immunity to rabies. As the number of vaccinated animals increases, they will become a buffer to stop the spread to other wildlife, pets, and people. Low-flying airplanes and helicopters will drop the baits over three weeks in Tennessee.


One report noted that a woman’s dog ate one of the rabies vaccines airdropped from above.


The Epoch Times reports:

The RABORAL V-RG® vaccine is compressed into a matchbook-sized sachet, or plastic packet, which is sprinkled with a fishmeal coating, or encased inside a fishmeal polymer coating.

According to the USDA, the vaccine is safe “for many animals,” including dogs and cats.


“Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits, but if they encounter them, they should leave them undisturbed,” the USDA said. “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.”

The program began in August distributing throughout the Northeast to mid-Atlantic regions such as Maine, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

It continued into mid-September from mid-September to mid-October in Massachusetts.

Throughout October, the program will be dispersing vaccines by airplane, helicopter, and vehicle in the Southern states such as Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

According to the USDA, ORV distribution has taken place in the United States since 1990.
In Canada, it’s been used since 1985, and in Europe, it began in 1980.

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