State using aircraft to fight rabies in wild animals

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LA GRANGE, Texas (AP) — State health officials this week are starting another round of air drops over a 17-county area of Central and Southeast Texas to control rabies in wild animals.

The Texas Department of State Health Services started its Oral Rabies Vaccination Program in 1995 for coyotes and gray foxes.

It's hoped the effort from aircraft that begin taking off Tuesday from La Grange also can eradicate rabies in skunks. The 1.4 million vaccine packets are coated with what state officials call "tasty fishmeal crumbles" wildlife eat to become immune to rabies.

The first flights cover counties from Madison and Walker on the north, then southwest to Bastrop and southeast to Wharton and Fort Bend.

Crews then head south and west to drop 1 million vaccine packets along the border.

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