To prevent rabies, of course.
Texas, which has long campaigned for family pets to be vaccinated against rabies, is now attacking from the sky one of the state’s foulest carriers of the disease: skunks.
Skunks would obviously put up quite a stink if caught and hauled in to a veterinarian’s office for shots. So the state health department is taking the rabies vaccine to the vermin.
Twin-engine airplanes this month are crisscrossing 8,800 square miles of East and Central Texas to drop 1.2 million vaccine packets.
Each vaccine is the size of a fast-food ketchup packet and is coated with smelly fish meal to entice skunks to eat it.
Packets will rain down at a rate of about 150 per square mile, as pilots try to evenly disperse the vaccines over rural portions of Montgomery, Fort Bend, Waller and 14 other counties to the west and north of Houston.
The massive airdrop – which should skirt around residential neighborhoods – is part of an expanded test by the Texas Department of State Health Services of the V-RG vaccine – the same preventative used over the past two decades to nearly eliminate the canine and fox strains of rabies.
“We want to know if it will be just as effective in wiping out the skunk strain as it did the other two,” said Tom Sidwa, state public health veterinarian.
See? It is possible for uninsured people to get health care in Texas, if by “uninsured people” you mean “skunks”, and by “health care” you mean “air-dropped vaccination packets”. Details, details.
Seriously, this is a good idea that worked with one strain of rabies and ought to work equally well with another. I hope to read a future report about how successful this effort was.