Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Viral Zoonotic Neuroinvasive Disease


There's hardly another word that strikes as much fear in the hearts of pet lovers as the word rabies.  But visiting the country, as we love to do, means that it's a possible fear we face with Diesel every time we go camping.  We've done what every responsible pet owner should do and have him fully vaccinated against this horrid disease.

(And just in case you didn't know how truly bad it can be, read this. *Warning: this link contains graphic pictures!* There's really no coming back from it.  Even if your pet goes through the required 6 month quarantine, he's not likely to come back your loving, well socialized best friend.)

I was heading down to Corpus Christi for work this evening listening to public radio and learned that Fort Bend County (TX) will be air-dropping rabies vaccines into the surrounding countryside.

Quoting from KUHF:

Fort Bend is the first county in the Houston Metro area to try an
oral rabies vaccine program. Small planes and helicopters will drop
about 42,000 doses. Each dose is about the size of a ketchup packet.

"And it's covered in fish meal, which does not smell very good,
but it attracts the animals. There's a gel vaccine inside of it. 
When they bite into it, it squirts into their mouth, and they ingest it,"
says Melanie Manville with Fort Bend County's Health and Human Services.

(Get the full story here, and a better picture of the drop area here.)

It appears that if the program goes over well, they'll roll it out to other areas of the state.  Seeing that Fort Bend County has has a relatively high number of skunk rabies cases confirmed year after year: 2011 (12); 2010 (5); 2009 (12) - this sounds like a good use of time and money.

I can't help but wonder, though, what all those 'ketchup sized packets' are going to do to the local environment and wildlife (birds and fish, and us!) that will inadvertently be exposed to it.

Bonus:  In my research tonight, I discovered

September 28th is World Rabies Day.

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