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USDA to distribute wildlife rabies vaccine in northeast Maine

The effort aims to lower the spread of disease in raccoons, officials say.

MAINE, USA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services will start its annual raccoon rabies vaccination program on Saturday, officials say. 

A news release from the department stated on Friday that it will cooperate with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to distribute about 385,000 oral rabies vaccine baits across northeast Maine. 

The vaccine will be distributed from Saturday through Wednesday, the release stated. Crews will spread the baits by ground and air over a 2,650-square-mile area as part of rabies prevention efforts. 

Officials described the baits as fishmeal-coated cubes or sachets about one-to-two inches big. And while people and pets can't get rabies from contact with the baits, they shouldn't touch them, the release stated. 

"The distribution area includes places such as Burlington Township, Carroll Plantation, Chester, Houlton, Lakeville, Lee, Lincoln, Mars Hill, Oxbow, Patten, Prentiss Township, Springfield, Stacyville, T3 R1 NBPP, T7 R3 NBPP, Webster Plantation, Weston, and Winn," the release stated. "Wildlife Services will spread the baits by airplanes in rural, wooded areas. Crews from Wildlife Services will spread baits from vehicles in the more populated areas, such as Houlton." 

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