Bath to proceed with baiting program to address rabies

BATH, Maine (AP) — Bath is moving forward with a trapping program to address a rabies outbreak in which rabid animal attacks grew 700% from 2018 to 2019.

Under the plan, 10 traps will be set in Bath and every fox, skunk and raccoon caught in the traps will be euthanized and tested for rabies. Other wild animals and any pets that end up getting caught will be released or returned to their owners.

On Monday the City Council voted to proceed with the $26,000 program, beginning this month. Councilors also voted unanimously to create a rabies response task force to research treatment options, and to form a long-term plan to address the rabies outbreak.

Many residents have advocated for an oral vaccine baiting program. Critics say vaccine programs are costly and ineffective.

The city says the Maine Center for Disease Control confirmed 16 cases of rabies in Bath in 2019, compared to two in 2018 and none in 2017.

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