The US Department of Agriculture will be dropping these vaccine loaded baits throughout Tuscarawas County next week as part of an effort to control the spread of raccoon rabies. (New Philadelphia City Health Department)
TUSCARAWAS COUNTY (WJER) - The United States Department Of Agriculture will be flying over Tuscarawas County next week, dropping raccoon rabies vaccine packets.
New Philadelphia Environmental Health Director Lee Finley says the program is part of a nationwide effort to stop the spread of rabies.
“We do have raccoon rabies in the area. We have a new strain that is coming in this area, and we do need to be very careful because rabies is a fatal disease,” he says. “If somebody would get it and didn’t know that they came into contact with a rabid animal, it is fatal if it does get to the brain.”
The baits are designed to be eaten by wild animals to vaccinate them against rabies. The Ohio Department of Health says pets won’t get sick from eating a packet, but they could get sick from eating a lot of them though.
Meanwhile, the New Philadelphia Health Department is continuing its search for a grayish, long-haired cat that might have gotten rabies from an infected bat. Finely says a different cat found dead near South Elementary school was not the cat they were looking for.
“I still wanted to have it tested because it seemed to die of natural causes or something else, and we don’t know what, but it wasn’t rabies,” he says.
Finley says the cat might be running out of time. He says if it has rabies, it will die within six months of when it was infected.