Tennessee Dept. of Health set to wrap up oral rabies vaccination airdrops



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are wrapping up a project designed to vaccinate wild raccoons along the Tennessee border.

According to a release from the TDH, the annual program designed to keep people, pets and livestock safe from contracting rabies will utilize low-flying airplanes and helicopters to airdrop baits coated with a “fish-scented substance” to attract raccoons.

The packages will be dropped along Tennessee’s border with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Bait packages contain an oral rabies vaccine designed to vaccinate raccoons and other wildlife against the disease.

Oral vaccinations will be distributed in portions of Bradley, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamilton, Johnson, Marion, McMinn, Monroe, Polk, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties.

Packages will be marked with a number that can be called for assistance or information if the bait is found. That number is 1-877-722-6725.

According to the release, although the oral vaccination packages are safe, the USDA has released some safety guidelines. The precautions are as follows:

  • If a pet finds a package, scan the area for other packages and, while wearing gloves or with a towel, toss them into a wooded or fenced area. Bait packages should be removed from areas where pets could easily eat them.
  • Do not attempt to remove a packet from your pets mouth as they could bite.
  • It is advised to wear gloves, or use a towel when picking up baits
  • Do not let children interact with the bait packages

The project started at the beginning of October and will wrap up on Friday, Oct. 15

More information on the oral rabies vaccination packets can be found by clicking here.

More information on rabies can be found by clicking here.

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