Oral Rabies Vaccination Project for South Carolina

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The Public Health Concern

Rabies is a significant public health threat since rabid animals can come in contact with people and their pets. Rabies is a fatal viral infection. While pets can be vaccinated against rabies, people exposed to rabies must undergo a costly series of shots to protect them from the disease.
In 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture licensed a safe vaccine for use with raccoons. This vaccine has been used successfully in Maryland and in more than 10 other states to control raccoon rabies.

Vaccine Distribution Plan

There are two bait versions that are distributed. One (made of fishmeal and polymers) looks like a small brown brick. It is approximately 0.75 inches thick by 1.25 inches square and contains a small plastic bag of the liquid rabies vaccine, Raboral V-RG. The raccoon must bite into the bag to be vaccinated. The second is similar to a condiment packet (such as ketchup), which has been coated with a waxy fishmeal attractant for raccoons. Inside the packet is the liquid rabies vaccine. The raccoon must bite into the packet to be vaccinated.

The Vaccine

Raboral V-RG, a genetically engineered vaccine, contains a live vaccinia virus into which a small portion of the rabies virus has been inserted. It cannot cause rabies. It has been proven effective in immunizing raccoons and coyotes, and it has been shown to cause no harmful effects in more than 50 different species of birds and mammals, including dogs and cats.

What if my dog, cat or ferret eats the bait?
The bait and vaccine are not harmful to animals, including dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock and wildlife. The bait may cause diarrhea or vomiting in dogs, cats or ferrets due to the high fat content of the bait.

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