Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals. Several different variants of the rabies virus exist in the United States. Each variant is spread predominantly by one wildlife species, but all variants are capable of infecting mammals, including humans. Raccoons and skunks account for the most reported cases, but bats, foxes, and coyotes are also among the commonly infected wildlife species.
The United States Department of Agriculture, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, along with the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Centers for Desease Control will be implimenting an oral rabies vaccination program in Georgia beginning on October 6th, 2014.
Oral rabies vaccination baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and may be packaged in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets. The baits contain Raboral V-RG (Merial LTD) Which is an oral Rabies vaccine. The targeted area for 2014 will include all of Catoosa County, large portions of Chattooga, Dade, Walker, and Whitfield Counties and a small portion of Murray County
The Dalton, GA project will cover parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee and distribute 603,000 baits by fixed-wing aircraft and 23,040 by hand.
Benefits of Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Programs:
- Reduced human exposure and PEP costs
- Reduced epizootic-related pet vaccination, quarantine, and euthanasia
- Reduced burden on state services for animal diagnostic tests
- Reduced livestock losses
Listed below are helpful hints on how to reduce the possibility of contracting the rabies virus.
- Do not touch or pick up wild animals or stray domestic animals.
- Properly vaccinate all family pets against rabies.
- Report unknown or strangely acting animals to your local animal control officer or, if the animal is wild, to wildlife officials.
- Do not make your yard inviting to wild animals. Remove trash and secure garbage cans. Do not leave pet food outside.
- Keep family pets indoors at night. During the day, do not let them roam. If You Are Bitten
- Immediately wash the bite with soap and water for five minutes
- Try to capture the animal only if you can do so without receiving additional bites or other injuries.
- Immediately report the bite to your doctor and your local health officer.