tossed by hand Friday, Nov. 14, in Walker County.
The brown, bite-sized cubes are made of fishmeal with a rabies vaccine pouch
pack inside. Residents wanting more information can call the phone number
printed on the cubes, (877) 722-6725.
Lawton Massengill is working with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife Division to drop rabies inoculants.
This year’s rabies project will run from Nov. 14-24. Local counties included in
the vaccination drops are Dade, Catoosa, Walker and Chattooga. Nearly 80,000
baits will be dropped from planes will total, and more than 13,500 will be
tossed by hand, totaling nearly 94,000 baits.
“Friday at 11 a.m. Central Time the plane will begin (dispensing the cubes) in
Albertsville, Ala., and the zone is 30 miles wide,” Massengill said. “The drops
will take up a little over half of Walker County, a section of Catoosa County
and all of Dade County.
Cubes will also be dropped in Northeast Alabama and Southeast Tennessee.
“We are forming a barrier to keep the rabies virus from spreading west,” he
said. “Next year it will move east all the way to the East Coast with the air
drops if everything goes as planned.”
The vaccine is not harmful to pets or people, he said.
“If you find it (fishmeal cube) in your yard, then pick it up with a glove and
move it to a wooded area,” he said. “If a pet eats a lot of them, then it could
cause vomiting or diarrhea.”
Massengill said he plans to start Friday with other volunteers doing hand
baiting in Fort Oglethorpe, Rossville, Chickamauga, Trenton, Lookout Mountain
and the Northwest Catoosa County. He expects to continue the hand baiting next
“We will have a lot of volunteers, and we have a training video to show them,”
he said. “We are baiting raccoon habitats such as drainage ditches and creek
More than 30 grid areas are marked to drop baits in Walker County and about
three grid sections in Catoosa and about three locations in Trenton.
After the distribution of the vaccine baits, raccoons will be tested to
determine whether they ate the bait. Live trapping will occur in the vaccination
Increased surveillance for sick or dead raccoons is also being conducted,
according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.
Questions and answers about oral
raccoon rabies vaccines
Why are there concerns about raccoons and rabies?
Raccoon rabies is found throughout the Atlantic and Southeastern states. It is
a viral infection that can affect the nervous system of any mammal, including
humans. The disease is almost always fatal to both people and animals. Raccoon
rabies spreads rapidly and infects large numbers of raccoons. The disease
often spreads to other wildlife and pets, making human exposure a real
What does the vaccine consist of? The oral rabies
vaccine bait consists of a square block made from a compressed mixture of
fishmeal and fish oil known to attract raccoons. The vaccine (dyed pink) is
inside a plastic packet that is inserted in the middle of the block. Most of
the baits will be consumed about five days after being distributed.
Are gloves required to handle the bait or will I be harmed
if I handle the intact bait without gloves? It is not harmful to touch
intact bait, but the fish oil and odor on the bait may get on your fingers.
Wear gloves or protect your hands if the bait has broken open or is damaged or
leaking by using a paper towel or plastic bag to pick it up. As a precaution,
wash your hands thoroughly after direct contact with the bait.
What if I find a bait near my home? Leave it alone.
However, if the bait is intact and out in the open or where contact by pets or
children is possible, wearing a glove toss it into the woods.
What if my dog or cat eats bait? It is not harmful if
your pet consumes a small quantity of baits. Because additional baits have
been dropped nearby, check the area for more. Any other bait can be removed
and placed in areas more likely to be found by a raccoon than a pet.
Is the vaccine harmful? The vaccine is not
harmful to wild animals or pets. Although the exposure risk to humans is very
slight, the following information is important: Be aware of what bait looks
like; encourage children to leave the baits alone and keep dogs and cats
inside or on leashes at least five days after your area has been baited. Do
not attempt to take bait away from your pet because you may be bitten. Wash
your hands or exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water if you touch the
bait or the liquid vaccine inside the bait.
What happens if my child eats or has contact with the
vaccine? Will my child get rabies? The bait has a strong fish odor and is
usually not appealing to children. It is not possible to get rabies from the
vaccine. People with certain medical conditions, such as an immunodeficency
problem, may be prone to a local virus infection from the vaccinia if the
vaccine (pink liquid) gets into an open wound, or contacts a mucus membrane
such as the eyes. Rinsing the eyes or using soap and water to wash any skin
area exposed to the vaccine can prevent this. Please call the Georgia
Department of Public Health at (706) 295-6651 or USDA Wildlife Services at
(706) 546-2020 if you are exposed to the vaccine or need advice.
Can this vaccine be used to vaccinate my dog or cat against
rabies? No, this vaccine is approved only for use in wildlife. A
veterinarian, in accordance with state and local regulations, should vaccinate
your pets. Regular pet vaccination is essential to protect your pet against
How is a raccoon vaccinated? A raccoon is vaccinated by eating
bait containing the vaccine. The raccoon will develop antibodies in two to
three weeks that will protect it if it is exposed to another infected raccoon.
If enough raccoons are vaccinated, the risk of the spread of rabies will be