The Rabies Quarantine, enacted by the Coconino County Board of Supervisors, begins Monday and continues through August 12. It will allow for the placement of the oral rabies vaccination (ORV) packets in the greater Flagstaff area. When residents keep their pets indoors it will help to ensure the bait packets are ingested by the intended wildlife, and not domestic cats and dogs. Similar oral rabies vaccine (ORV) distribution efforts took place in 2009 and 2010.
The Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) will collaborate with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS-WS) and will receive support from other state and federal agencies to implement the program. Approximately 129,600 coated Oral Rabies Vaccination packets containing rabies vaccine targeting gray foxes will be dispersed during the Quarantine period. 97% of these ORV baits will be distributed by a fixed-winged aircraft covering a 1,585 square mile area (excluding wilderness areas). The remaining packets will be distributed in populated areas by staff and volunteers.
Please follow these guidelines if you find an ORV packet:
- · Do not attempt removal of the ORV sachet from your dog’s mouth, as you could be bitten. Eating these sachets will not harm your pet.
- · Confine your pet and look for other sachets in the area. Remove any sachets from areas where your pet could eat them (i.e., fenced yards.)
- · Instruct children to leave sachets alone.
- · Wear gloves or use a towel when you pick up the sachet. Although there is no harm in touching an undamaged sachet, they have a strong fishmeal smell.
- · Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance that the vaccine sachet you touch has been ruptured.
- · There is a warning label placed on each sachet advising people not to touch the sachet. The warning also contains the rabies information line telephone number, 1.877.722.6725.
Rabies has also been diagnosed in striped skunks within the oral rabies vaccination zone. However, it has been shown that the oral vaccine is not effective at immunizing skunks, so USDA-APHIS-WS will be conducting a trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) program to vaccinate skunks within the Flagstaff city limits. Skunks will be targeted for TVR in the Continental/Country Club area and in neighborhoods along the base of Mt. Elden. If you find a trap in your neighborhood, please do not disturb it.
The Quarantine places certain mandatory restrictions on residents within the Quarantine area(s).
§ All cats and dogs must be confined within an enclosure or secured on the owner’s property; or when not on the owner’s property, pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet.
§ All persons within the Quarantine Area who own or control domesticated dogs and cats must make sure that their pets are vaccinated and that vaccinations are up to date.
§ During the Quarantine period, a team of staff and volunteers from partner agencies will be distributing vaccine bait in selected parts of the Quarantine Area and continuing public education. The Quarantine allows the Health District and participating agencies to enter private property to place vaccine bait packets. The vaccine bait packets are not harmful to humans or animals; however, the CCPHSD recommends that you avoid touching or disturbing the packets.
§ People are prohibited from interfering with the bait packets in any way, to help ensure that enough wild animals become vaccinated by eating the bait.
§ Feeding wild animals is also prohibited as a part of the Quarantine.
§ Wild animals may not be trapped within the Quarantine area limits or transported outside the area without prior written approval from the Coconino County Public Health Services District. Do not approach a wild animal. Call the Health District for assistance at 928.679.8756.
A map of the Quarantine area is available at http://www.coconino.az.gov/health
Rabies is a viral infection that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans. The disease is almost always fatal when not treated. Rabies can be transmitted from wild animals to pets such as cats and dogs, making human exposure a real possibility.
The program will be conducted in partnership with the Arizona Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Program). USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Program is providing funding for the Rabies Vaccination Program.