FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will expand its rabies prevention program next month.

About 341,000 aerial animal vaccination baits will be dropped over 7,150 square kilometres of western New Brunswick from August 12-18. The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries and the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development will participate in the program.

“This is an important step in controlling the spread of rabies in our province,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries chief veterinary officer Dr. Nicole Wanamaker. “This effort is part of the rabies prevention and control measures conducted in western New Brunswick each summer. Any vaccine bait found should be left alone.”

In addition to aerial drops, by the end of July, 14,000 vaccination baits will be distributed by hand. The public is reminded that if they see the blister-packs of bait to leave them alone and to keep children and pets away from them. The blister-packs are green with a label describing the contents, including a toll-free number.

The packets are intended to be consumed by animals. If someone picks up a packet they should wash their hands thoroughly and anyone who eats material from a packet should seek medical attention.

Eight rabies cases, all involving racoons, have been confirmed in the province since November 2022. As a result of these cases, two people had to be treated for exposure to rabies.

Rabid animals may not show signs or symptoms right away.

New Brunswickers are urged to take steps to protect themselves, their families, their pets and livestock from rabies by ensuring the vaccinations of pets and livestock are up to date, by keeping a safe distance from wildlife, by refraining from adopting or relocating wildlife, by not interfering with wild animals that appear abandoned and by seeking medical attention promptly if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal that could be rabid.

The public is urged to call Tele-Care 811 if they see raccoons, skunks or foxes that appear sick and may have rabies. Public Health can provide effective treatment to anyone at risk of exposure to the virus after contact with a rabid animal.

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