THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Rabies vaccine airdrop scheduled in Texas

Airdropped scheduled for rabies vaccine in Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services said recently that they will once again airdrop edible doses of the rabies vaccine throughout areas inhabited by Texas’ wildlife.

Infected animals spread rabies, a deadly virus, through bites. Prevention is essential when fighting rabies because by the time an animal or a person shows symptoms, the disease is usually deadly.

This aerial dispersal of medication is part of the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program. The program began in 1995 and has successfully eradicated rabies in coyotes in Texas. It has nearly eradicated rabies in the Texas gray fox.

Now the program has refocused to maintain the zone where there has been successfully vaccinated, preventing the rabies strains from re-inhabiting the region along the Rio Grande.

Researchers hope to determine whether the same aerial approach may be successful in eradicating rabies from skunks.

For the skunk study, the planes will fly from Brenham Airport to Madison, Walker, Bastrop, Wharton and Fort Bend counties. The airdrops, beginning Wednesday, will be completed in approximately one week.

To eradicate the gray fox rabies strain, the plane will cover areas in Alpine, Del Rio, Zapata and Brady

The rabies vaccine will be in small plastic packets. To entice wildlife, the packet is covered with fishmeal crumbs.

The vaccine is not dangerous to humans. It is safe for approximately 60 animal species.

Experts recommend that people avoid contact with the vaccine packets; animals could smell human contact on the packets and most likely not eat the vaccine.

Despite the program’s success, there were still 1,000 reported cases of animal rabies in 2014. In light of this statistic, experts estimate that approximately 2.7 million rabies vaccine doses will be airdropped in 2015.

If livestock, cats, or dogs ingest the vaccine, they are not vaccinated for rabies.

Health professionals encourage pet owners to have their pets immunized against rabies to further prevent any spread of the disease.


Organizations in this story

Texas Department of Health 1100 W 49th St Austin, TX 78756

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