Beginning Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, working with the Virginia and Kentucky health departments, will distribute oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits in areas of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.
ORVs are small packets containing rabies vaccine and coated with fishmeal. Wild animals eat the baits and become vaccinated against rabies.
The ORV baits will be distributed from low flying aircraft in Wise, Scott and Lee counties in Virginia and Letcher and Harlan counties in Kentucky. Residents of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Dryden, Duffield, Norton and Wise and Cumberland and Whitesburg in Kentucky may see planes and helicopters dropping the baits during the weeklong effort.
Wildlife and health officials also ask residents to be alert and to report any dead raccoons, including those struck by vehicles, or raccoons acting unusually ill, friendly, unafraid or sick — staggering, unsteady or aggressive — by calling 1-866 4-USDAWS (1-866-487-3297) or the appropriate local health department or animal control office. The animals or carcasses will be removed to be tested for rabies.