Rabies is a virus that affects warm-blooded animals, including wildlife, pets, and humans. Without prompt treatment, rabies is almost always fatal in unvaccinated pets and humans. The goal of the National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) is to prevent the further spread of specific terrestrial rabies variants in the United States and ultimately move toward elimination of rabies in raccoons (Procyon lotor). Current wildlife rabies management strategies include an extensive air and ground oral rabies vaccination (ORV) program in the eastern U.S.
To monitor the effectiveness of the ORV program in urban environments, USDA Wildlife Services will be live trapping rabies vector species and opossums in the greater Burlington area on properties where permission was granted. Traps will be checked daily and all rabies vector species and opossums will be immobilized to collect biological samples, tagged and released at the point of capture, as long as they appear to be healthy. A select number of opossums will be fitted with telemetry equipment to allow us to study their ecology in urban environments. July trapping efforts will begin on July 10 and run for approximately 10-14 days. Any non-target animals captured during the study will be safely released.