Alabama
9:46 am
Thu October 30, 2003

Vaccines Target Raccoon Rabies

Montgomery, AL – State wildlife officials will begin dropping vaccine-laced bait over five northeast Alabama counties soon. They're trying to fight the spread of rabies through raccoons. The air-drops over DeKalb, Jackson, Marshall, Etowah and Cherokee counties will begin November 14th. Volunteers also will spread the bait on the ground. The greenish brown bait is made mostly of fish meal and oil. It contains a pink liquid vaccine inside. Health officials are warning Alabama residents not to eat it. A veterinarian with the state Health Department says anyone who eats the bait might require doctor's care. People who touch it are recommended to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Officials have alerted government workers and school systems in the counties where the drops will be made. There have been three deaths in the United States and one in Canada related to raccoon rabies this year. The last fatal case of rabies in Alabama was in 1995.