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Cape Cod & Southeast MA Rabies Task Force (CCSMRTF)




The Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force, continues to assist towns with maintaining control of terrestrial raccoon rabies on Cape Cod.

In cooperation with the Cape Cod and Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force (CCSMRTF), the United States Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services (USDA) is continuing to support the Cape Cod Oral Rabies Vaccine (CCORV) Program to help reduce and eventually eliminate raccoon rabies on Cape Cod.  The Cape Cod ORV Program, which began in 1994, is praised as one of the longest running, increasingly successful projects to control rabies in the country.  Unfortunately, the CCORV Program was one of the many public health initiatives which lost its state funding in 2009. The USDA, as a direct result of commitments by the CCSMRTF, local communities and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has continued to fund the ORV baiting.  The Spring 2021 round of ORV baiting is set to begin the week of May 3 and end the first week in June.

For more information on the Cape Cod Oral Rabies Vaccination Program call (508) 476-2715, stop by your Town Board of Health or visit


Oral Rabies Vaccine Distribution FAQs



In May of 2021, the first raccoon-variant rabies case in over 8 years was documented in Hyannis on Cape Cod. In response, USDA implemented an emergency trap-vaccinate-release (TVR) campaign throughout the mid-Cape to prevent the disease from spreading. Close to 700 unique raccoons were live-captured, vaccinated against rabies, tagged, and released at the site of capture. 

To further mitigate the potential for disease spread, the distribution of oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits on the Cape Cod will occur from July 12-23 in the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, and Orleans. Approximately 69,900 ORV baits will be distributed Cape-wide; 57,000 will be distributed via helicopter and 12,900 will be distributed by hand (ground vehicles). Aerial operations will begin July 13 and will last for approximately 4 days, weather permitting. Two low-flying federally owned aircraft may be observed by the public during this timeframe. The aircraft will be either red and black or white and orange. Ground operations will be conducted by town, county, and federal employees as well as volunteers and will begin on July 12, continuing for up to two weeks. On the map below, areas in orange and yellow will be treated during the upcoming ground and aerial operations.