Anti-rabies bait drop begins Monday in Ontario.

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Anti-rabies bait drop begins Monday.
August 4, 2001

The Associated Press

NEWPORT — Low-flying aircraft from Ontario, soon to appear in the skies above northern Vermont and New Hampshire, won't mark the beginning of an invasion.

Rather, they'll be aimed at stopping an invasion of rabies from the U.S. into Canada by dropping wildlife bait treated with rabies vaccine.

And the pilots will be working under the direction of wildlife biologists from Cornell University in New York, who want to see if the vaccine can be used to keep raibies from spreading north of the border.

Raccoon rabies was confirmed in southern Vermont in June 1994. Since that time, hundreds of cases of animal rabies have been confirmed as the outbreak has spread northward.

Towns in a northern swath across Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille and Orleans counties will be included in the oral rabies bait drop, as well as all of Grand Isle County and several towns in Coos County, N.H.

Bait drops have been tried in Vermont before; this one will be concentrated in northern Vermont and New Hampshire with the aim of seeing whether it's possible to eradicate wildlife rabies from a specific geographic region using the bait drops.

The bait is made of fish meal, a binder and fish oil, and is in flat, clear packets about 3/4-inch- by-2-inches in size with an oily coating. The manufacturer has printed a toll-free number on each bait, so that anyone finding a bait can call for information. The bait is not harmful to people or pets, officials said.

The bait drop is to begin Monday and last three days. Pilots from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, flying out of the Stowe/Morrisville airport, will drop bait from an altitude of about 500 feet at a density of 155 per square mile.
 


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