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Rabid raccoon sighting prompts Quebec ministry to employ rabies vaccine plan

Quebec's Environment Ministry is placing rabies vaccine baits in 17 municipalities in Estrie and Monteregie after a rabid raccoon was reported in Vermont, about 10 kilometres from the border. (Charlie Riedel, The Associated Press) Quebec's Environment Ministry is placing rabies vaccine baits in 17 municipalities in Estrie and Monteregie after a rabid raccoon was reported in Vermont, about 10 kilometres from the border. (Charlie Riedel, The Associated Press)
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After a rabid raccoon was reported in Vermont, 10 kilometres from the Quebec border, the provincial Environment Ministry will distribute vaccine bait in 17 municipalities in the Eastern Townships and Monteregie.

Crews will set the 46,200 vaccine baits in 17 municipalities from April 22 to 30, which will cover around 660 square kilometres to limit the risk of raccoon rabies coming back to Quebec.

"It will immunize raccoons, skunks and foxes against raccoon rabies and help to protect human health," the ministry said in a news release. "Wooded areas, stream banks, the periphery of agricultural fields and spaces near garbage cans will be particularly targeted."

The baits will be put in the municipalities noted on this map.

The ministry said the weather-resistent bait resembles a greenish ketchup packet and gives off a sweet smell to attract targeted species.

If spotted, residents are urged to avoid handling the bait, though it is safe for humans and pets and the environment, according to the ministry.

"It cannot under any circumstances transmit rabies," the ministry said.

Though it's safe, the ministry said to wash any part of your body that touches a broken vaccine bait and call Info-Sante at 811.

Pets that eat the bait are not considered vaccinated.

The ministry recommends the following advice to prevent rabies:

  • If bitten or scratched, wash the wound with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes and call 811.
  • Don't approach unknown wild or domestic animals.
  • Don't touch animal carcasses with your bare hands.
  • Take steps to avoid attracting wild animals to your property, such as keeping outdoor garbage cans out of reach and pet food indoors.
  • Don't relocate nuisance or orphaned animals.
  • Get your pets vaccinated against rabies.
  • Report raccoons, skunks and foxes or animals that seem disoriented, injured, unusually agressive or paralyzed. Call 1-877-346-6763. 

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