Planes Drop Rabies Vaccine Throughout Valley

Friday, January 7, 2011 - 10:01am

RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Several planes are flying all across the Rio Grande Valley, dropping little packages from the sky. But the packages aren't intended for people.

The small parcels are rabies vaccines.

Places took off from Zapata this morning, and have been flying over rural parts of Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron County.

The rabies vaccine is intended for coyotes and foxes, but won't harm other animals if ingested. The vaccine is disguised as food, to entice the four legged scavengers into eating it.

"It's a little bait that has fish meal, and then on the inside it's got a little liquid packet that's got the rabies vaccine in it. And so it's, it's specific for, for the type of canine rabies that the coyotes in particular get," said Dr. Brian Smith, Texas Department of State Health Services.

Because of these aerial drops, the number of canine rabies cases has dropped from more than 100 , 15 years ago, to zero cases today.

The Texas Department of State Health Services advises people not to touch the vaccine if they see it. Human scent will deter the animals from eating it. 

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