USDA drops treated bait in Jackson Co. to battle rabid raccoons

Published: Oct. 24, 2014 at 10:59 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 21, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
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USDA helicopters are being used around Scottsboro and Stevenson to drop vaccinated bait that...
USDA helicopters are being used around Scottsboro and Stevenson to drop vaccinated bait that raccoons find appealing.(Source: WAFF)

SCOTTSBORO, AL (WAFF) - The USDA is fighting the westward spread of rabies by dropping vaccinated bait in north Alabama for raccoons, a common carrier of the deadly virus.

Helicopters, a fixed- wing aircraft, and private vehicles on the ground are all being used in distributing the bait in wooded areas in Jackson County. Dropping in north Alabama isn't uncommon, but they've included Jackson County due to the high number of rabies cases this year.

USDA helicopters are being used around Scottsboro and Stevenson to drop vaccinated bait that raccoons find appealing. Choppers are flying the tree lines and dropping the bait, largely in wooded areas.

Jackson County was added to the list after ten cases were found this year. The goal is for raccoons to eat the bait and protect themselves from getting the disease, spreading it westward from the Appalachian Mountain region where it's being contained.

The program began earlier this month in other counties such as Madison, Morgan, Limestone, and Cullman. They hope to conclude this weekend with trips over Gadsden, Albertville, and Guntersville.

USDA officials said if you run into any of the bait it's best to leave it alone.

If you think the bait could have come in contact with a child or a pet, you can move the bait but they urge you use gloves.

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