infection in raccoons have
been reported to agency
By CANDACE NELSON
DAILY MAIL STAFF
As part of its annual baiting exercise, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is working United States Department of Agriculture to help stop the westward spread of the raccoon rabies virus variant in West Virginia.
"Each year, the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology tracks laboratory-confirmed rabies infection in raccoons," Commissioner and State Health Officer Dr. Marian Swinker stated in a news release.
"To date in 2013, there have been 34 confirmed instances of rabies infection in raccoons reported to the Bureau for Public Health from 15 different counties. There were a total of 40 raccoons that tested positive for rabies in 2012."
Zoonotic disease epidemiologist Miguella Mark-Carew said this number is on target for this time of year.
"It's pretty consistent with our goals," she said. "This year's number falls within the expected range based on our surveillance data."
Public health officials will be employing two types of baiting: aerial and hand.
Aircrafts will drop the aerial bates, which is scheduled to start on Wednesday and will end in mid-September.
"It's a fairly sophisticated system. The GPS has pre-loaded lines that we fly, and the navigator sits in the cockpit of the plane that can turn the machine on and off when going over roads or raccoon habitats," Wildlife Services state director John Forbes said.