Enhanced Rabies Surveillance (ERS) zones
In order to fully evaluate the ongoing ORV program, an Enhanced Rabies Surveillance (ERS) zone has been implemented in New Hampshire to monitor ongoing rabies cases. The goal is to verify the presence or absence of raccoon variant rabies in the areas just outside the ORV drop zones. The ERS zone not only encompasses the current ORV zone but also extends into areas north, east and south. USDA staff called upon New Hampshire trappers in the fall of 2018 to submit carcasses and/or brain stem tissue for testing. Furbearers trapped in the Laconia / Lakes Region north are requested.
From USDA WILDLIFE SERVICES-APHIS:
"The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services (WS) is conducting wildlife rabies surveillance in New Hampshire. Wildlife Services along with federal, state and local cooperators are leading a national effort to vaccinate wildlife against rabies through the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program (ORV). The ORV program in NH is designed to stop the northern spread of the raccoon variant of rabies.
In order to evaluate the ORV program, an Enhanced Rabies Surveillance (ERS) zone has been established to detect rabies cases and verify the presence or absence of raccoon variant rabies in NH. The ERS zone not only encompasses the current ORV zone but also extends into areas north, east and south of the ORV zone(Attachment).
Surveillance is the most critical part of determining the success of ORV programs and is key to making decisions about whether ORV barriers should be moved or maintained. In order to monitor raccoon variant rabies activity in your county, USDA WS is requesting assistance with the collection of samples for rabies testing. Wildlife Services is particularly interested in the collection of carcasses of Raccoons, Skunks, Foxes, Coyotes, Fishers, Woodchucks, and Bobcats. Animals that were observed acting sick or unusual, and/or with lesions or porcupine quills indicative of aggressive behavior suggestive of rabies, are of special interest. Fresh road-killed animals or any animals found dead are also needed. Wildlife Services provides the attached guidance for rabies sample collection, handling and submission.
To facilitate rabies sample collection, freezer drop-off locations have been established NHFG Region 1 & 2 offices. Carcasses will be picked up for testing by USDA WS regularly.
Wildlife Services appreciates your time and assistance with this matter and encourages you to participate in this free rabies testing service. Please feel free to disseminate this information to your cooperators and partners throughout the ERS zone to assist with identifying and combating raccoon variant rabies in New Hampshire. If you have any questions about the process or how you can further assist, please feel free to contact Colleen Marron or Carrie Stengel at (603)223-6832."