Vermont , New Hampshire and New York have been added to the second round of trials for a new rabies vaccine. It was first used last year in West Virginia.
"The results were pretty promising in West Virginia. We had 50 percent of the raccoons tested as having enough antibodies in their system to fight rabies, so this is pretty exciting for us to try this out," said Martha Dunbar,a USDA Wildlife Biologist.
The new bait is smaller than ones used in the past and instead of smelling like rotting fish, they smell like caramel. But there is another change as well. "It's an oral rabies vaccine. It does not contain the rabies virus but it contains the gene from the rabies virus, so when a raccoon or fox or a skunk eats one of these it helps their system build up antibodies to fight a rabies infection," Dunbar said.
In Canada they have been able to eliminate raccoon rabies with this bait. Three-hundred thousand baits will be spread between Vermont and New Hampshire. In the northern, more remote parts of the state, they were dropped by air. "We go into an urban area where we are driving on a road and we are putting them into the woods on the side of the roads -- also on the bike paths through the greater Burlington area. Sometimes we walk into the woods and distribute them that way," she said.
According to the Vt. Department of Health, there have been hundreds of cases of animal rabies reported throughout Vermont since 1992. The number of rabies cases last year was actually down compared to years past, but Dunbar says rabies is cyclical which is why it's important to drop bait ever year.
If you find one of the baits, leave it alone. If you do have to move it, wear gloves and then wash your hands afterwards. And if your dog or cat gets ahold of one, don't worry, Dunbar says they are harmless.
The next step in the trial is to trap a number of animals to see if they have the rabies antibodies in their blood, which means the bait drops were successful.
Monday, June 17 2013 10:29 PM EDT2013-06-18 02:29:24 GMT
When it comes to parking in downtown Burlington empty spaces can be tough to find. "I go up to the mall parking lot," said Ian Gould. "It's just so much easier to park there. You don't have to bringMore >>
Burlington considers raising penalties for expired meters.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 10:20 PM EDT2013-06-18 02:20:10 GMT
Green Mountain Power wants a permit to kill bats.When the Lowell Mountain Wind project went online -- Little Brown Bats were not an endangered species. Now they are and killing them is illegal. But GMPMore >>
Green Mountain Power wants a permit to kill bats. When the Lowell Mountain Wind project went online -- Little Brown Bats were not an endangered species. Now they are and killing them is illegal.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 10:04 PM EDT2013-06-18 02:04:50 GMT
A Central Vermont landslide will cost thousands of dollars to repair. VTRANS officials say the slide happened off Route 110 in the town of Washington after heavy rains soaked the slope. Monday crews cutMore >>
A Central Vermont landslide will cost thousands of dollars to repair.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 8:57 PM EDT2013-06-18 00:57:16 GMT
A car smashed into a building in the Northeast Kingdom Monday morning.Police say an Mary Bailey, 85, from Quebec, was making a trip to the Dollar General in Troy. While parking she thought her car wasMore >>
She thought her car was in reverse, but when she hit the gas the car hurtled forward and slammed into the side of the Dollar General. More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 8:52 PM EDT2013-06-18 00:52:47 GMT
Police are on the hunt for a purse snatcher.They say the man -- captured on a surveillance camera -- took the purse from a woman at the Price Chopper in Derby Friday afternoon. He left the store in anMore >>
Suspect took purse from a woman at the Price Chopper in Derby Friday afternoon.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 8:51 PM EDT2013-06-18 00:51:22 GMT
Thousands of state employees are making the switch to electronic time sheets.The new $11-million payroll system went live last month. The idea is to make the payroll system more efficient by eliminatingMore >>
Thousands of state employees are making the switch to electronic time sheets.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 8:31 PM EDT2013-06-18 00:31:29 GMT
At 25 years-old, Michael Adams has done more in his career than most people twice his age. "I surprise myself every single day," Adams said.This young entrepreneur is mixing up his 5th business -- GreenMore >>
From barbeques to baseball games, mustard is a staple of summer for many people. But one man is trying to elevate the condiment to a whole new level.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 8:23 PM EDT2013-06-18 00:23:56 GMT
Ricardo Gervais visits the Queen City every chance he gets. And now when he parks in downtown Burlington, new signs on parking meters displayed in English and French will greet the Canadian tourist."IMore >>
Downtown Burlington keeps getting a bit more international -- an effort to make our neighbors to the north feel more welcome.More >>