With at least 12 recent confirmed animal rabies cases in Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills, the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) has partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture and Wildlife Services to complete an Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Project in these communities. The ORV Project’s goal is to vaccinate raccoons, foxes and coyotes in the wild and help stop further spread of rabies.
The JCDH is distributing oral rabies vaccination bait in Jefferson County throughout Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills between March 20-23.
The ORV baits are about the size of a matchbox and are coated with fishmeal flavoring.
The JCDH has issued warnings regarding these baits to leave them alone and not to move them, unless they are where children or pets play.
If you must move ORV baits, you should:
• Wear gloves or use a paper towel or plastic bag when picking up the baits.
• Toss intact baits into a wooded area.
• Bag and dispose of any damaged baits in the trash.
• Take precautions by practicing proper hygiene – wash with soap and water any skin or wounds that may have come into contact with ORV baits, especially if the bait was damaged.
If a pet eats the bait, JCDH officials say there are steps to be taken to help:
• Don't panic. A few baits are not harmful, though eating a large number may cause an upset stomach.
• Do not risk getting bitten or being exposed to the vaccine by taking a bait away from your pet.
• Check the area for more baits and relocate any remaining baits to a wooded area.
• If your pet eats a bait, avoid your pet's saliva for 24 hours, and wash skin or wounds that may have been licked.
As a reminder, it is Alabama state law that all pets have up to date rabies vaccinations. Contact Avondale Animal Hospital in Birmingham for your pet's rabies vaccination.
Photo from Jefferson County Department of Health