Tennessee Will Airdrop Vaccines from Helicopters and Small Planes to Combat Spread of Rabies

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, oh wait, it’s vaccines.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has teamed up with the Tennessee Department of Health in an attempt to combat the spread of rabies.

In the first two weeks of October, both departments will airdrop oral rabies vaccines from helicopters and small airplanes along Tennessee’s border with Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.

The oral vaccines will distributed through small packages coated in a fish-scented oily substance.

Once the vaccines are air-dropped, wild animals will find them and eat them, which will then make them immune to rabies.

State Epidemiologist John Dunn said in a statement, “Rabies control keeps people, pets, and livestock safe.


The Tennessee Department of Health has joined forces with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to combat the spread of rabies. Starting this October, the department will be dispersing rabies vaccine packets from the air along Tennessee’s borders with North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.

“Rabies control keeps people, pets, and livestock safe,” State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD said. “Our partnership with USDA Wildlife Services in this project reduces rabies in wildlife and protects communities.”

The vaccines will be distributed through sachet baits coated in an oily, fish-scented substance. The baits can be found by animals and then swallowed, leading to the development of immunity to rabies. Low-flying airplanes and helicopters will drop the baits over three weeks in Tennessee.

Vaccine airdrops are not unique to the state of Tennessee; many southern states, including Texas, do it annually to help eliminate rabies breakouts.



Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) airdropped oral rabies vaccines over 13 states to prevent the spread of the virus. The vaccines are covered in fishmeal to attract raccoons and other wildlife that are at risk of contracting and spreading rabies.

The vaccines are about the size of a ketchup packetThey coat the mouth of the animal that bites into them. Most packets are eaten within four days, and almost all baits are gone within a week. If packets are not found and eaten, they will harmlessly dissolve and exposed vaccine will become inactivated reportedly.


Thanks for sharing!