RABIES VACCINE Baits to be put near border of Ohio, W.Va.
So far this year, 23 cases of raccoon-strain animal rabies have been reported in Ohio.
Rabies baiting planes will begin flying over eastern Ohio on Sept. 6 as Ohio Department of Health begins its Appalachian Ridge Oral Rabies Vaccination Program.
The annual fall operation will take place along the Ohio-West Virginia-Pennsylvania border and will include 15 Ohio counties.
Baits will be distributed in order to vaccinate wild raccoons and prevent the spread of rabies, an often-fatal viral disease that affects people and animals alike.
Ohio Department of Health estimates that more than 879,000 vaccine-laden baits will be distributed in the state over 4,765 square miles. That's roughly one bait per 3.3 acres.
Specially equipped Canadian Twin Otter Airplanes and a helicopter will drop most of the baits in rural areas. Ground teams in vehicles will distribute baits in urban and suburban communities.
The operation will take at least 10 days to complete, or longer in case of bad weather.
Not harmful to dogs
The raccoon bait is not harmful to dogs if they eat it. If a dog does come in contact with bait, ODH recommends confining the dog for a few days in order to check one's property for more baits.
Twenty-three cases of raccoon-strain animal rabies had been reported to Ohio Department of Health as of Aug. 23. Forty-six cases were reported in all of 2004.
The Ohio September Oral Rabies Vaccination Program is a multistate partnership that is coordinated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Wildlife Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
About 5 million vaccine baits will be distributed over 26,268 square miles in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Maryland.