September 3, 2013

USDA testing wildlife rabies vaccine in five states

So far, the vaccine has been found effective in raccoons, coyotes and foxes, but not in skunks.

The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is tossing marshmallow-flavored plastic packets of rabies vaccine out of airplanes in northern New York and parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio and West Virginia.

The work is part of a third U.S. field trial of a vaccine to control rabies in raccoons, skunks and other wildlife. Biologists are evaluating the safety and immune effects of the vaccine. So far, they've found it effective in raccoons, coyotes and foxes, but it hasn't proven effective in combating rabies in skunks.

The plastic blister packs are being distributed this month by airplane drop and by people on the ground. The olive green rectangular packets are a little bigger than a quarter.

The USDA says pets won't be harmed if they find and eat a vaccine packet.

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