State to Launch New Effort to Combat Rabies in Racoons

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - In another effort to control rabies in raccoons - Alabama health officials plan to drop oral vaccine baits in several counties this month.

Beginning March 19th, a fish meal bait laced with the rabies vaccine will be distributed in Bibb, Chilton, Jefferson, Perry, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties.

In unpopulated areas, the packets will be dropped by low-flying aircraft and distributed by hand in more populated areas.

The project should end around March 23rd and officials hope this could
be the last year for the annual bait drop. The rabies vaccination
program started in 2003.

State Epidemiologist, Doctor J.P Lofgren, says the worst concentration of raccoon rabies is in south Alabama.

Officials say the baits pose no threat to humans, but the baits should be handled with gloves or by using a plastic bag.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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