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ROME: Helicopters to join fight against raccoon rabies | Health

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ROME: Helicopters to join fight against raccoon rabies
ROME: Helicopters to join fight against raccoon rabies

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Authorities say helicopters will drop packets of rabies vaccine over parts of two Alabama counties this week to try and stop the westward spread of the virus in raccoons.

Dana Johnson, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says there have been seven confirmed cases of rabies west of the Coosa River, which begins in Rome, so far this year.

The vaccines will reportedly be wrapped in fishmeal, which makes them attractive to raccoons. When the animals bite into the packets, they will break pouches that contain the vaccine.

Johnson said authorities are aiming to stop the spread of raccoon rabies west of the Alabama and Coosa river systems.

She said the vaccine isn't dangerous to pets if they ingest the baits.