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Rabies prevention program for raccoons begins today

In an effort to prevent the spread of rabies across the state, an annual baiting program to help prevent rabies in raccoons begins Monday in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Health is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the project. Oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons will be distributed along Tennessee’s borders with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Vaccinations are given via a vaccine packets coated with fishmeal that will be distributed in a 20-county area, including portions of Bradley, Carter, Cocke, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hawkins, Lincoln, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Polk, Sequatchie, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. The bait will be distributed by airplane and helicopter.

Officials say the products are safe, but they advise against allowing pets to consume them. They say to wear gloves when picking up bait that needs to be removed from your yard or property, and advise children to leave the baits alone.

The baits are dropped mainly in wooded areas within the state.

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