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Barnstable County Congratulates Yarmouth Officials for Raccoon Rabies Work


Barnstable County Congratulates Yarmouth Officials for Raccoon Rabies Work

BARNSTABLE (MA) April 10, 2018 – The Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment would like to congratulate two Town of Yarmouth officials—Amy L. von Hone, Assistant Health Director, and Karl W. von Hone, Director of the Division of Natural Resources—on their recent recognition by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for their efforts to combat raccoon rabies on Cape Cod.

Amy and Karl were recognized by the USDA National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) for their long-term work with the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force (CCRTF). In 1992, when the first case of the Mid-Atlantic strain of raccoon-variant rabies was detected in northern Massachusetts, Amy and others formed a steering committee to plan for the potential effects on Barnstable County. Their work led to the formation of the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force (CCRTF). In 1993, Karl joined the CCRTF, contributing to the development of rabies surveillance and control strategies, and serving as the Town of Yarmouth’s voting member. Both Amy and Karl played crucial roles in establishing the cooperative oral rabies vaccine (ORV) barrier. According to the NRMP, these collaborative efforts have reduced the incidence of raccoon rabies to near zero over peninsular Cape Cod in the past five years. The rabies control strategies developed on Cape Cod are frequently cited in scientific journals and presentations at international conferences.

Karl first became chair of the CCRTF in 2001 and today shares the duties with co-chair Erika Woods, Senior Environment Specialist at the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment (BCDHE). “Amy and Karl have been instrumental in providing Cape Cod with rabies surveillance, messaging for public health, and providing organization and continuity for the CCRTF,” said Woods. “We at the County are extremely pleased that they have been recognized for their extraordinary efforts in protecting the health and safety of Cape Cod residents and animals—both domestic and wild.”

Amy continues to spearhead efforts to involve health departments throughout the region and has provided valuable guidance to the fifteen communities on Cape Cod. She is also a leader in organizing rabies vaccination clinics throughout Barnstable County. As one of the Cape’s foremost rabies management professionals, Karl is frequently contacted by officials from other jurisdictions and by media outlets and has represented the CCRTF at national meetings.

Barnstable County Regional Board of Commissioners Chair Leo Cakounes said, “The work of our Department of Health and Environment in collaboration with the CCRTF and the National Rabies Management Program is another fine example of the benefits that Barnstable County government provides for Cape Cod residents and visitors. Much of this work goes on behind the scenes with little fanfare, but it has a big impact on the health and well-being of the County. We are proud to help support the efforts of dedicated public servants like Amy and Karl and congratulate them on their well-deserved recognition.”

Editors: Contact Erika Woods for information: (508) 375-6620