The annual oral rabies vaccination baiting program, which helps control rabies in wild animals, is under way in western Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.
The operation will cover all or parts of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
Wildlife rabies accounts for almost 93 percent of the reported rabies cases in the United States, and raccoons account for more than 50 percent of this total. Although the primary focus is to vaccinate raccoons, other animals, such as dogs, cats, cattle, horses, skunks and foxes, also benefit from the program.
Trained employees are spreading bait sachets to densely populated areas by hand. On Aug. 13, low-flying aircraft will begin dropping sachets in sparsely populated areas.