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

“Every summer the provincial government targets areas in the province for its annual Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination Program,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Ross Wetmore. “There is already a first confirmed case of rabies in southwestern New Brunswick, which reinforces the need for this vaccination program and the importance of the province’s annual rabies prevention campaign.”

Oral rabies vaccine bait for raccoons, skunks and foxes will be distributed by hand in St. Stephen, Saint Andrews, St. George, Minister’s Island, Elmsville, Utopia, Pennfield, Seeleys Cove, Blacks Harbour, Campobello Island, McAdam, Woodstock, Centreville, Waweig and Tower Hill from late July to September. The campaign could be extended to ensure any newly identified risk areas are covered. There is no effective vaccine available for rabies prevention and control in bats.

“Distributing oral vaccinations to vulnerable wildlife populations remains a highly effective way to prevent rabies from reaching domestic animals or humans,” said Wetmore.

Oral rabies vaccine baits were distributed on Woodstock First Nation lands each year from 2016 through 2019 and will take place again this summer.

In addition to hand distribution, an aircraft will be used to distribute bait in the southwestern part of the province Aug. 10-16.

A first case of raccoon-variant rabies was reported in the province on July 4. Only one case of raccoon-variant rabies was reported in 2019, the first case to be identified in the province since July of 2017. Rabies continues to occur close to the border with Maine.

The vaccine poses little risk to humans or domestic animals.

People are urged to take steps to protect themselves, their families, their pets and any 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.