Health officials and pet owners in some of the western Great Lakesstates can breathe a little easier these days. That’s because Ohio hasfound a way to block an outbreak of rabies carried by raccoons, andspreading from the East. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Bill Cohenreports from Ohio:
Health officials and pet owners in (IN, IL, MI, MN, WI or some of the western Great Lakes states) can breathe a little easier these days. That’s because Ohio has found a way to block an outbreak of rabies, carried by raccoons, and spreading from the East. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Bill Cohen reports from Ohio.
It began in New York, then hit Pennsylvania, and then crept over the border into Ohio. But health officials report the yearly number of raccoon rabies cases here has now dwindled – 59 cases were the peak. But last year, there were only 5 cases, and so far this year – none.
Key to this rabies blockade are millions of fishmeal biscuits, laced with a rabies vaccine…and dropped from helicopters and cars.
Healthy raccoons are gobbling them up and making themselves invincible when they’re bitten by infected raccoons. Kathleen Smith is Ohio’s official veterinarian.
“Hopefully if we can get enough of the population of raccoons immunized, the disease then goes ahead and dies out.”
To be sure the westward spread of rabies has been blocked, Ohio plans to spend 1.6 million dollars this year for even more vaccine. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Bill Cohen in Columbus.