State Rabies program around Buzzards Bay

Until 2004, there were no cases of rabies on the Cape Cod portion of the Buzzards Bay watershed. The Cape Cod Canal had acted as a barrier, but there were concerns that raccoons or other rabid animals might cross one of the three canal bridges. This now appears to be the case, and rabies is now found in the Cape Cod raccoon population.

For a number of years, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Tufts Veterinary Program teamed up for an innovative, and until recently, successful rabies control initiative. In brief, the program involves feeding bait treated with a rabies vaccine to Raccoons, the prime carrier of the disease in Massachusetts. This program has been discontinued. Buzzards Bay towns included in the program include the eastern portion of Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Plymouth, and Bourne. Because this effort was located in the Buzzards Bay watershed, and we sometimes receive inquiries about the program, we have added these links to the program for interested residents.

Links for more information:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Rabies Information Page

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Fact Sheet on rabies (a pdf file)

Tufts University e-news article