Raccoon rabies vaccine to be tested in Arundel

July 23, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Health Department officials are counting on a fishy-smelling bait laced with rabies vaccine to help slow the spread of the disease among raccoons.

The vaccine, disguised in a reeking raccoon delicacy, will be scattered through wooded and bushy areas on the Annapolis peninsula in October in a test that, if successful in reducing rabies cases -- and the resultant threat to people -- could be expanded to other areas.

Last year, Anne Arundel County had the most animal rabies cases of any county in Maryland, with 97 animals, mostly raccoons, found to be infected. Through June, 27 animals had tested positive this year, according to animal control Administrator Tahira Williams.

The vaccine the Health Department is using, Raboral V-RG, has been approved by the U.S. Agriculture Department only for vaccinating raccoons, said Dr. Joseph Horman, a veterinarian and consultant to the Health Department.

Raccoons that eat the small, brown bricks of fish meal and oil will bite into the embedded vaccine and be vaccinated by mouth, he said. The piecesare not harmful to people, dogs or cats.

Pub Date: 7/23/98

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