The West Virginia Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) “bait drop” is set to begin on or about August 24, 2022 and run through August 31, 2022 dependent on weather. An early bait drop (to be flown by helicopter) will occur along a small section the Ohio River in the northern panhandle on August 5-8, 2022. As in previous years baits will be distributed aerially from low flying aircraft, and from the ground via USDA trucks in more urban areas that cannot be baited from the air.
Rabies is a serious public health concern because if left untreated it is invariably fatal. Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies conservatively exceed $500 million annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, greater than 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the United States are in wildlife. The cooperative USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services, National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) was established in 1997 to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies in the United States by containing and eventually eliminating the virus in terrestrial mammals. The majority of the NRMP efforts are focused on controlling raccoon rabies, which continues to account for most of the reported wildlife rabies cases in the U.S. Raccoon rabies occurs in all states east of the established ORV zone that extends from Maine to northeastern Ohio to central Alabama. Continued access to oral vaccine and bait options that are effective in all target wildlife species remains critical to long term success.
The ONRAB bait consists of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) blister pack, containing the vaccine. To make the baits attractive, the blister packs are coated with a sweet attractant that includes vegetable-based fats, wax, icing sugar, vegetable oil, artificial marshmallow flavor, and dark-green food-grade dye. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the bait. However, people who encounter baits directly are asked to leave the bait undisturbed. Should contact with bait occur, immediately rinse the contact area with warm water and soap and contact the health department at 304-234-3682. Please do not attempt to remove a bait from your dog’s mouth. The bait will not harm the dog. If you have additional questions related to the field evaluation please contact the West Virginia Wildlife Services office in Elkins, WV at (304) 636-1785.