8/25/2013 10:04 AM
by Rebecca Turco
CHARLESTON - Agency officials are hoping to control the spread of raccoon rabies
in West Virginia through a vaccination program covering the central
part of the state.
The West Virginia Department of Health
and Human Resources (DHHR) and the U-S Department of Agriculture will
distribute rabies vaccines beginning later this month.
Hand-baiting with the block-type
rabies vaccination baits will begin around August 26 in more urban locations. Aerial baiting is scheduled to begin August 28 and is
expected to conclude in early to mid-September.
Distribution of baits is
weather dependent. Inclement weather may result in extended bait
Pets should be confined or on a leash during the
baiting period and up to five days after, according to officials. The
vaccination baits are not harmful to pets, but officials recommend if your animal
gets hold of the bait, do not try to remove it because you could get
bitten or inoculated with the vaccine.
If baits are found close to a
residence, officials also recommend to wear gloves when handling them and throw the baits into the
closest wooded area.
More information regarding the raccoon rabies vaccination bait program is available at www.dide.wv.gov or by calling your local health department or the DHHR at 1-800-423-1271, extension 1.
The raccoon rabies vaccination bait program through DHHR is an effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Services, in cooperation with local health departments, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.