Continuation of Oral Rabies Vaccination Bait Distribution

Beginning September 13 2021
Cape Cod Rabies

Media Advisory

Upcoming Virtual Media Event:

Continuation of oral rabies vaccination bait distribution

On Wednesday, September 8th at 10 am, representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Wildlife Services and the Cape Cod & Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force (CCSMRTF) will be taking part in a virtual media event to discuss the state’s oral rabies vaccination (ORV) bait distribution program. The event is an opportunity for media representatives to interview experts on rabies and view the oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits that will be distributed across portions of Barnstable and Plymouth Counties from September 13–October 8.

To attend the event via Microsoft Teams, on the day of the event please follow the link below:

In May, the first raccoon-variant rabies case on Cape Cod in over eight years was documented in Hyannis. In response, USDA implemented an emergency trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) campaign throughout the mid-Cape to prevent the disease from spreading. More than 700 unique raccoons were captured alive and unharmed, vaccinated against rabies, tagged, and released at the site of capture. 

To further mitigate the potential for disease spread, the distribution of oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits on the Cape Cod occurred in July from the Cape Cod Canal to Orleans. Beginning September 13, this effort will be repeated with the addition of the traditional ORV zone on the Mainland. ORV baits will be distributed in the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, Orleans, Plymouth, Wareham, Carver, Kingston, Middleboro, Rochester, Marion, and Lakeville. Approximately 156,000 ORV baits will be distributed across this zone via helicopter and by hand (ground vehicles and bait stations)–the largest ORV bait distribution program in MA since the inception of the Cape Cod Rabies Program in 1994. Aerial operations will begin September 13 and last approximately eight days, weather permitting. Two low-flying federally owned aircraft, either red and black or white and orange, may be observed by the public during this timeframe. Ground operations will be conducted by town, county, and federal employees as well as volunteers and will begin around September 20, continuing for up to two weeks. However, ground operations may start earlier if weather delays prevent aerial bait distribution from occurring.

Please visit the Cape Cod & Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force’s Facebook page for the latest information and daily updates during the oral rabies vaccination bait distribution event.

The media’s assistance is requested to inform the public of the presence of the ORV baits and guidelines for action if encountered.  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 an ORV bait occurs, immediately rinse the area with warm water and soap and call 877-722-6725.

It is important to note that the baits are not toxic to pets but may cause an upset stomach if ingested due to the richness of the bait attractant.

As a reminder, the translocation of wildlife by the public is strictly prohibited.  By not relocating wildlife, people help to prevent the spread of rabies and other diseases to non-infected areas.

If you are unable to attend the media event, representatives from USDA and the CCSMRTF will be available remotely by phone or email to discuss the state’s ORV bait distribution program.  Please email to schedule interviews.

In addition, the links below may be used in your publication, on your websites, and on social media sites. 

The CCSMRTF Facebook Page:

The CCSMRTF Website:

USDA’s National Rabies Management Program Website:

Press Contact:  

Brian Bjorklund, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture | (413) 537-9394 |