The Cape Cod and Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force will distribute oral rabies vaccine baits north and west of the Cape Cod Canal from Monday, September 21, through Tuesday, October 20, after being postponed this past spring.

Approximately 72,000 oral rabies vaccine baits will be distributed in portions of mainland Barnstable and Plymouth counties by helicopter.

This will be the first time in more than 16 years that a helicopter will be used to distribute the baits, allowing distributors to get baits into areas not accessible by vehicle.

Vehicles and bait stations will be also be used in several mainland areas not baited by helicopter.

Distribution of approximately 19,500 baits south and east of the canal will begin Monday, September 28. These baits will be distributed from the Cape Cod Canal through Route 151 in Falmouth, Route 28 in Mashpee and Route 149 in Barnstable in an effort to boost wildlife rabies vaccination rates and prevent the reemergence of raccoon rabies there. Baits will be distributed in areas of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee and Barnstable by vehicles, train and bait stations.

A majority of the baits will be distributed by town, county and US Department of Agriculture officials using vehicles and a helicopter, however, about 5,000 will be distributed by bait stations in selected areas.

People and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits but are asked to leave them undisturbed should they encounter them. If contact with a bait occurs, immediately rinse the area with warm water and soap. If there has been exposure to the vaccine inside the bait, contact the Massachusetts Department of Health at 617-983-6800. To report that a bait has been found and there has not been any vaccine exposure, call 877-722-6725.

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