Rabies baits

LISBON — The Columbiana County Health Department reported that the (USDA-APHIS) United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services will be distributing Oral Rabies Vaccine (ORV) baits in the county starting today, Sunday, Aug. 19 through Aug. 26, 2018.

ORV baits will be distributed in eastern Ohio counties including Ashtabula, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Geauga, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe, Portage, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas along with areas on the corridor of the Ohio River in Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects animals and people and is still virtually 100 percent fatal. Raccoon-rabies variant (RRV) is of particular public health concern because it can infect so many domestic animals and people. Ohio’s effort to keep RRV from spreading throughout Ohio began in 1997 and was so successful in subsequent years that states including Pennsylvania and West Virginia how have baiting programs.

Baits will be distributed by plane in rural areas of the county and ground baiting in the areas of Lisbon and East Palestine.

If you find a ORV bait, leave it alone, unless they are where children or pets play. To move the baits safely, wear gloves or use a barrier when picking up the baits, toss intact baits into a wooded area or other raccoon habitat. Bag and dispose of any damaged baits in the trash. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with baits. An intact bait poses no risk. If the blister packet containing the vaccine breaks the liquid vaccine should be visible. Use gloves to place the bait in a plastic bag. Cover the bait with 1:10 dilution of household bleach, and wipe down affected areas with bleach solution. Place cleaning materials in a bag, and dispose of the bag in regular garbage.

If your pet is eating the bait, don’t panic. Eating a large number may only cause an upset stomach. Do not attempt to remove a bait from your pet’s mouth; doing so may cause you to be bitten and result in a vaccine exposure. It is also recommended to contact a veterinarian as a precaution if a pet has consumed vaccine baits. Avoid the pet’s saliva for 24 hours to prevent contamination.

In the event of human or pet contact with the bait/vaccine, contact the Rabies Information line at (614) 752-1029 or the Columbiana County General Health District at (330) 424-0272.