Rabies vaccine dropped from the sky

The helicopters aim for open fields and areas away from humans

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Texas has adopted a new effort to make animals on the ground rabies-free.

The Texas Department of Health is using helicopters to spread 100,000 of little packets in Fort Bend and Waller counties in areas that are prone to skunks and rabies.

The helicopters aim for open fields and areas away from humans.

"There's 300 of these packets per square mile. That sounds like a lot. But when you think of how large a square mile is, that's very few actually," said Don Jones of Animal County Animal.

The vaccine is in a small plastic case coated with fish meal crumbles, which makes it tasty for wildlife and not dangerous for humans.

"If a citizen was to find one of these laying on the ground, it tells you what it is. It has an 800 number on it. When you call that number, our folks answer," said Jones.

This is part of a pilot program of the State Health Department to cut down the number of rabid skunks in the state. Skunks can spread rabies to your family's pets.

"What we're doing now is determining if this is an effective vaccine and procedure to use for skunks in Texas because skunks are one of the most important rabies reservoirs in Texas," said Laura Robinson of the Texas Department of State Health.

In 30 to 60 days, health workers in the area will trap skunks and test them for rabies.

"we will see if our skunks in Waller County likes this bait. If they do, then we're all in good shape then," said Robinson.

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