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Anne Arundel County’s Solution to the Rabies Virus

Raccoon hiding under a red wooden deck in a residential area of Maryland.

Over the course of seven months last year in Maryland, over 112 animals were diagnosed with rabies, including raccoons, bats, foxes, and groundhogs. Anne Arundel County has launched a new project aimed at tackling the high number of rabies cases in the county using the Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV). The baits are designed to vaccinate raccoons when they bite into the packet containing the vaccine and prevent the spread of rabies throughout the area.

The Dangers of Rabies

Rabies is a huge health risk to both humans and pets. Rabid animals infected with the rabies virus can come into contact with pets or people and, through a bite, transmit the rabies virus. Pets can be vaccinated against rabies, but people are typically not until there is a reason to believe they have been exposed. Whenever a human has been exposed, they need to undergo an expensive and painful series of shots to protect them from the ill effects of the virus.

The Rabies Virus Baits

The baits contain a liquid form of the rabies vaccine and have been distributed by Department of Health staff in neighborhoods throughout Anne Arundel County. They were also dropped from a low-flying helicopter in less-populated and wooded areas. The packets are small and designed to vaccinate raccoons whenever they are bitten.

The Rabies Vaccine for Animals

This fast-acting rabies vaccine cannot cause rabies and is not harmful to any animals, including raccoons and pets. The vaccine packets and bait are a low health risk to humans as well, although you should avoid handling them if you see them in public. If you are out on a walk with your pet and they find bait, carefully remove it from the mouth. If you are particularly concerned, you can give your pet’s vet a call.

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