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Media Advisory

Trent University to Host Rabies Control Test

MNR's Rabies Research and Development Unit to release 3200 baits from a helicopter July 6 as part of an impact experiment

Friday, July 2, 2004, Peterborough

As part of a bait impact experiment, members of the Ministry of Natural Resources' (MNR) Rabies Research and Development Unit will drop 3200 baits from a helicopter hovering at 150 metres on the East Bank of Trent University's Symons Campus at the Otonabee College Parking Lot, July 6 at 9 a.m.

Oral rabies vaccination (ORV) works by delivering vaccine to wildlife through baits that wild animals want to eat. The four bait types being tested will contain coloured water as a placebo for the actual rabies vaccine. By dropping the baits onto various surfaces and checking them for damage, improvements can be made in rabies control across Ontario. The province's program to stop rabies is founded on sound, scientific advice and is so successful that other nations have sought the Ministry's help in controlling this deadly disease.

"Since 1989 Ontario has been a world leader in the research and control of rabies," says Rick Rosatte, a senior research scientist with the Rabies Research and Development Unit, based at Trent University. "Research like this helps protect the health and safety of the public, their pets and the wildlife of this province from this deadly infectious virus."

Since a proposal by the World Health Organization in 1966, the MNR has experimented with a variety of bait and oral vaccine formulations with great success. While any mammal can carry rabies, in Ontario the main rabies carriers are the fox, skunk and, more recently, the raccoon.

Trent University's partnership with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources over the last eight years has presented opportunities for the sharing of resources and the creation of unique academic opportunities. This partnership has been a backbone of the Greater Peterborough Region DNA Cluster, which will provide continued advances in genetic research and establish Peterborough as a world leader in the field. The Greater PeterboroughRegion DNA Cluster is an initiative to develop a regional centre of excellence in DNA and forensic science.

"Working together in partnership and shared purpose is something Trent University is always eager to do, whether it be on a experiment like this one, or an initiative as extensive as the DNA Cluster," says President Bonnie Patterson.


Photo Opportunities: Media representatives are encouraged to attend the bait drop near Otonabee College Parking Lot on the East Bank of Trent University's Symons Campus on July 6 at 9 a.m. The drop will go ahead weather permitting - should it be rescheduled, you will be advised by fax on July 5.

For further information, please contact:

  • Adam McAllister, Rabies Research and Development Unit, Ministry of Natural Resources, 755-1551
  • Alicia Doris, Communications Officer, Trent University, 748-1011, Ext. 1456

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Last Updated July 5, 2004