In a program to reduce rabies in raccoons, the Allegheny County Health Department has scheduled a raccoon baiting program to run Monday through Friday.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the multi-state program to eradicate raccoon rabies is in its 12th year in the county, where six rabid raccoons have been reported so far this year.
There were 23 during all of 2002, the first year of the program.
The program has reduced the risk that people and pets will get the deadly disease, the department said.
The baits made especially for raccoons are laced with rabies vaccine. Small plastic packets coated with fish meal or a one-square-inch blocks of compressed fish meal will be used as bait. Health department workers will distribute about 230,000 baits by hand in all of the county's municipalities on foot and from vehicles.
The public is advised to avoid contact with the baits, especially with bare hands. Anyone who touches the bait should wash the area with soap and contact a health-care provider if a blister forms.
To assure that raccoons will remain hungry enough to eat the bait, people should keep pet food inside and garbage-can lids tightly secure, the department said.
1region - health