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Rabies control measures in western New Brunswick

Press Release

19 July 2019

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will continue its rabies prevention and control measures in western New Brunswick this summer.

“We continue to work to prevent and control the spread of rabies in our province,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Ross Wetmore. “While the effort we have made in recent years has been successful, we must remain vigilant to help prevent the spread of this life-threatening disease.”

Oral rabies vaccine bait for raccoons, skunks and foxes will be distributed by hand in St. Stephen, Saint Andrews, St. George, Blacks Harbour, Campobello Island, McAdam, Woodstock and Centreville from July 19 to Aug. 9. There is no effective vaccine available for rabies prevention and control in bats.

“Oral vaccination is the most efficient and cost-effective prevention method for controlling rabies in wildlife and preventing its spread to humans and domestic animals,” said Wetmore.

Oral rabies vaccine baits were distributed on Woodstock First Nation lands each year from 2016 through 2018, and will take place again this summer.

An aerial campaign will take place Aug. 11-17.

Wetmore said efforts to control rabies in wildlife have been working since no cases of raccoon-variant rabies have been detected in New Brunswick since late July of 2017, however rabies continues to occur close to the border with Maine.

The distribution of vaccine bait near Fredericton and Saint John was previously done as a precautionary measure in case a raccoon with rabies were inadvertently transported beyond the control zone. Vaccine baits will not be distributed in these locations this year since the risk of raccoon-variant rabies occurring there is low.

The vaccine poses little risk to humans or domestic animals.

People are urged to take steps to protect themselves, their families and their pets and livestock from rabies by keeping a safe distance from wildlife, refraining from relocating wildlife, ensuring the vaccinations of pets are up to date, and seeking medical attention promptly if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal that could potentially be rabid.

The public is urged to report animals with rabies-like clinical signs to Tele-Care 811.

More information on rabies, including a surveillance map of confirmed cases, is available online.

Media Contact(s)

Jean Bertin, communications, Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, 506-444-5298.

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