Wild animals given rabies vaccinations in eastern Latvia

The Latvian Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) has started vaccinating forest animals against rabies this week, the service announced May 2.

Bait containing a vaccine with a weakened strain of the rabies virus are being deployed on the country's eastern border using light aircraft. The vaccines are intended for wild animals, mainly foxes and raccoons, as they are the main carriers of rabies in nature.

The vaccine is not intended for dogs and cats, however, eating it will not endanger their health. The vaccine is also not dangerous for humans and the surrounding environment, however, if a person comes into direct contact with the vaccine, which is liquid inside the bait, a doctor should be consulted.

PVD reminded the public that rabies is a dangerous infectious disease that threatens the lives of animals and people. Domestic animals, most often unvaccinated dogs and cats, become infected with rabies after contact with sick wild animals. The only effective measure to prevent rabies is timely vaccination.

The rabies control program developed by PVD has been approved and co-financed by the European Commission.

Since 2005, systematic vaccination of wild animals has been regularly carried out in spring and autumn. Thanks to it, rabies has been eradicated in Latvia – the last case of rabies in forest animals was detected in 2010, and in domestic animals in 2012. In 2015, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) officially recognized Latvia as a country free from rabies.

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