HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - We’re helping to protect your family by sharing some key details about an oral rabies vaccination effort happening in 17 Alabama counties.
This is a cooperative effort between the USDA’s Wildlife Services Program and the ADPH. The goal is to keep humans and domestic pets safe.
The plan is to drop over 900,000 of these bait packets across the following Alabama counties: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chilton, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Jackson, Jefferson, Marshall, Morgan, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega and Tuscaloosa.
The bait packets will be dropped by small airplanes, low flying helicopters and by trucks.
Marianne Hudson, a conservation outreach specialist with the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division says the locations are based on where rabies cases have been detected.
“Rabies is not so much in our public awareness because we vaccinate our pets and not a lot of humans in the United States contract rabies,” Hudson said. “But in large part, our low numbers of casualties are based on programs just like this...attempted immunization of wildlife.”
If you find some bait in your backyard or driveway, don’t be afraid to move it! You can simply pick it up with a glove or a towel and drop it in an area where it’s more likely to be forged by a raccoon, such as the woods.
“Try to avoid touching it with your bare hands,” Hudson said. “If you do, make sure you wash your hands well with soap and water.”
There is no reason to worry about your pets either. These vaccinations packets have proven to be safe in domestic pets.
“If pets come in contact with these baits, it’s generally safe,” Hudson said. “If they consume a large number of them it could cause some digestive upset."
Again, the ultimate goal is about keeping you and your pets safe from the virus.
“Raccoon rabies is an extremely serious disease," Hudson said. "It’s fatal in both wildlife and humans and it is transmissible from wildlife to humans and domestic pets. It’s very important for people to make sure that their domestic pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations as recommended by their local veterinarian.”
There is a phone number on each bait packet so if you encounter one and have any concerns you can call that number.