Rabies vaccine program starts across W.Va. Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State officials are launching a new vaccination attempt to curb the spread of raccoon rabies.

Starting Monday, public health officials will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to distribute baits with the vaccine across a wide corridor stretching from the Northern Panhandle to the southern coalfields.

Hand-baiting will begin in more urban locations.

Aerial baiting is set to start Wednesday and should continue to mid-September. But inclement weather could extend that time line.

State Health Officer Marian Swinker says 34 confirmed cases of raccoon rabies have been reported this year in 15 counties. That compares with 40 positive results statewide last year.

Swinker says if you find bait, don’t touch it. Put on some gloves first. Then throw it into the nearest wooded area.

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