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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Update

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth’s Diane Toomey reports that the USDA has stepped up its fight against the spread of rabies using biscuits baked with raccoons in mind.


TOOMEY: The federal government has upped its fight against the spread of rabies. The main targets are raccoons. But, the animals will be fed, not killed. Most rabies cases occur in wild animals and about half of those involve raccoons. The rabies strain that infects raccoons is held in check now at the Ohio border. But, the US Department of Agriculture wants to push that western boundary to West Virginia and stop the spread of the disease northward. So, officials plan to fly over forests in places like Ohio, New York and Vermont and drop biscuits filled with oral rabies vaccines. The food is specially designed to appeal to the raccoon pallet. But, suburbanites won't have to worry about biscuit bombs hitting their roofs. In more heavily populated areas, the bait will be placed by hand. That's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.



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