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Rabies vaccine baiting low-level flights by MNRF aircraft - spring 2016

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be resuming oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait distribution in the spring of 2016. The exact start date is not yet known but will likely be in late March or early April depending on weather conditions.

Please see the attached information package for:

1)    Map of the proposed baiting area image ProposedORV Spring2016
2)    Rabies Vaccine Bait Information Sheet pdf Rabies vaccine bait identification

The orange area in Perth County will be completed by Eurocopter EC130 and is in
response to a rabid bovine which was confirmed in December 2015. Baiting in
this area will be completed in one day.

The gray area is an expansion of the ORV baiting completed in December 2015 in
response to raccoon strain rabies cases confirmed in the Hamilton-Haldimand
area. Baiting will be completed with a combination of Twin Otter and Eurocopter
EC130 and will be completed over a 1-2 week period depending on weather.

Hand baiting of urban areas within the hashed area (Dec 2015 Baited Area in the
map legend) that was not completed in December will also resume in April and
will continue until completed.

This ministry is committed to the research, control and eradication of rabies in Ontario, thereby protecting the health and safety of the public, their pets and the wildlife of this province. Ontario’s programs are so successful that southern Ontario was free of raccoon strain rabies for more than a decade and fox strain rabies for over two years.

If a person contracts rabies and does not receive treatment, the disease is fatal.

The province uses a number of control measures in the fight against the deadly
rabies virus.  In addition to the activities mentioned previously, management activities include:

 *   aerial baiting in a small area in eastern Ontario along the St. Lawrence River and
      ground ‘urban’ (within urban areas if required) – scheduled for mid-August

 *   aerial baiting within a 50 km radius of confirmed raccoon strain rabies cases
      - scheduled for mid-August

 *   ground and aerial ‘urban’ and rural baiting in Niagara area
      – scheduled for late August

 *   aerial baiting within a 50 km radius of confirmed fox strain rabies cases
      - scheduled for mid-September

 *   control measures at the point of infection – only to take place in the event of a
      raccoon or ‘Ontario fox strain’ rabies incident

Cases of ‘fox-strain’ rabies have dropped dramatically across Ontario with one
case reported in Perth County in December 2015. Prior to this, the last cases in southern Ontario were in 2012. This is down from 1,500 cases/year before control measures were implemented in 1989, roughly a 99% drop.

Prior to the recent raccoon cases in the Hamilton area, the last confirmed case
of ‘raccoon strain’ rabies case in the province occurred in September 2005.

The khaki-green coloured bait being dropped from the aircraft is made of
wax-fat with an attractant flavour (vanilla-sugar). A label with a toll-free
1-888-574-6656 telephone number and “Do not eat” warning are on the exterior of
the bait and a plastic package containing the liquid rabies vaccine is embedded in the centre. If found, the bait should not be touched, but left for raccoons, skunks and foxes to consume. (See attached bait identification handout for detailed description.)

The rabies control program is a joint effort that receives important input from a variety of partners across Ontario.  Regional health units, municipalities, wildlife rehabilitators, licensed trappers, wildlife control agents and aboriginal communities are all key to the continued success of Ontario’s world-renowned rabies control program.

For further information, visit the Rabies in Ontario website at http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/rabies or contact our rabies hotline at 1-888-574-6656.

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