Bait to combat rabies in wildlife being dropped in rural Burlington, Oakville, Milton


Published July 12, 2022 at 3:04 pm

The annual effort of the provincial government to fight rabies in rural areas of Burlington, Milton, Oakville and Halton Hills is underway.

And residents are being advised that if they find the khaki-green coloured bait, which is made of wax-fat and smells like marshmallow to attract animals, they should just leave it alone.

A label with a toll-free telephone number (1-888-574-6656) and the message “Do not eat” are printed on the bait, and a plastic package containing the liquid rabies vaccine is embedded in the centre. If found, the bait should not be touched, but left for raccoons, skunks and foxes to consume.

Already underway and lasting to mid-September, the annual vaccine bait drop program fights the outbreak of raccoon and fox strain rabies that began in 2015.

Provincial staff will focus on raccoon and skunk habitat, such as bushes, green spaces and ravines where animals may forage, or along fence lines, hedges and large culverts. Baits are not distributed near schools, playgrounds, or where children are likely to be present.

In more rural areas, aircraft will be used to drop baits. Baits help to immunize most raccoons, skunks and foxes that eat them. Baiting by aircraft will start Aug. 15.

Since 2015, the ministry has distributed more than 7.5 million vaccine baits and tested more than 25,000 wildlife samples. This action has contained the original outbreak to within 65 kilometres of the original case and the number of positive cases has dropped by 95 per cent since 2016.

For more information about rabies in Ontario, please visit this website or contact the ministry’s rabies information line at 1-888-574-6656.

The bait is not harmful to a pet or person if consumed by mistake. However, contacting a doctor or veterinarian as a precaution is recommended. If left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.

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