Pet owners in Mon Co. asked to be on the lookout for rabies vaccine baits

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:11 AM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Residents with pets that spend time outdoors in Monongalia County are asked to be on the lookout for rabies vaccine baits that will be dropped during August.

The baits will be dropped mostly by aircraft by the USDA, according to the Monongalia County Health Department.

“If you find a bait, leave it where you found it, unless it’s in your lawn or driveway,” said Todd Powroznik, Environmental Health program manager at Monongalia County Health Department. “If you do find any in those places, wear gloves and remove the baits, and put them in a thicker area where raccoons and wild animals will find them.”

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will be conducting its annual distribution of oral rabies vaccine baits from airplanes, helicopters and by car between Aug. 5-8 and Aug. 24-31 in several states.

Officials said the baits contain rabies vaccine that raccoons and other wildlife consume in order to vaccinate them against the fatal virus that can be passed on to other mammals, including humans and their pets, during chance encounters.

Monongalia County is one of the areas slated to receive three types of ORV baits that wrap different vaccines, according to the health department. Two are wrapped in blister packs, one green and one white, and the other is encased in a brown coating.

While not toxic or harmful, owners are encouraged to check their yards periodically to see if any baits have been dropped in their area.

Officials do not know the exact dates when the baits will be dropped in Monongalia County.

Other counties in West Virginia receiving the baits include Marion, Harrison, Wetzel, Taylor, Tyler and Barbour Counties.

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