October 3, 2018

By Rick Thomason
UT/TSU Ext. Director

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services will be distributing oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits in portions of east and south-central Tennessee to vaccinate raccoons and prevent the spread of rabies in the state. Portions of Johnson County are in the bait zone. Other counties include Bradley, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamilton, Hawkins, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Sequatchie, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. Residents in these areas will see low-flying fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft distributing rabies vaccine from October 2-20, 2018.

ORV baits are small white plastic packets that are coated in fishmeal crumbles and placed in suitable raccoon habitat. ORV baits should be left alone whenever possible. However, if found where children or pets play, they should be moved into a fencerow, woodlot, ditch or other raccoon habitat with a gloved hand. Damaged baits should be bagged and disposed of in the trash. Be sure to wash hands thoroughly after skin contact with any ORV bait.

ORV baits are not harmful to your pets, although eating too many may cause vomiting or diarrhea. Do not risk getting bitten by taking bait away from your pet. Instead, confine your pet and check to see if any other baits are in the vicinity and remove them. If your pet does eat a bait you should avoid your pet’s saliva for 24 hours and wash any skin that your pet may have licked.

If you have any questions about the Oral Rabies Vaccination program or find ORV baits around your home, please call 866-487-3297 for additional information.