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N.B. to increase rabies vaccinations
The Rabies Control Program in New Brunswick is in full force this summer, with plans to up its vaccination plans for potential rabies cases.
To date, there has never been a confirmed case of rabies in the New Brunswick capital. Still, an effort to control any case of rabies has moved into brand new areas this summer, including Fredericton’s Odell Park.
“Initially we’ve had cases in Charlotte County,” says veterinarian Dr. Jacqueline Badcock.
Dr. Badcock is a veterinarian with the provincial government, and says there have been 27 confirmed cases of rabies in New Brunswick since May 2014.
Of those 27 reports, only one is from this year so far. Last year, an aerial and hand baiting program to vaccinate skunks and raccoons happened in Charlotte County – where confirmed cases of rabies have been found.
“The difference this year is that we’re actually proactively hand baiting Fredericton and Saint John, so distributing bait throughout the cities,” says Dr. Badcock. “There haven’t been any rabies cases there, but just as a proactive measure.”
Last year, more than 200,000 oral vaccines were distributed in New Brunswick’s Charlotte County. This year, it’s being increased to 500,000, with a wider area being covered.
It will include distribution of the vaccine as far north as Perth-Andover, close to the border between Maineand New Brunswick.
Indications so far, are that the bait program is working. The province is looking to build on that advantage.
“If you get a vaccinated barrier of wildlife, it helps prevent the disease from spreading,” says Dr. Badcock. “It can eventually eliminate the disease in the wildlife population.”
The vaccine baits are not harmful to humans or pets, but the province says if you come across it, to leave it alone.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore