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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Grant County Extension Office creates new rabies education program

The Grant County Extension Office and the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service have created a new program to help control a strain of rabies in southwestern New Mexico.

The new educational program was created in April in response to the needs of communities in Grant and Catron counties that have received a growth in the number of possible rabies cases over the past few years.

The current strain of rabies afflicting animals in southwest New Mexico is the Arizona strain of gray fox rabies. The first case of the strain was found in Catron County in 2007, but it quickly spread to Grant County, and can now even be found in parts of Sierra and Hidalgo counties.

The program focuses on three important messages - informing local communities about rabies; vaccinating dogs, cats, horses and other livestock; and teaching people to accept personal responsibility.

"Although rabies in wild animals usually cycles with the size of their population, the disease can continue to spread to counties. That's why this program is important for raising awareness in the communities," said Pete Walden, the Grant County Extension Director.

Brochures explaining the disease and how to combat it have been distributed to numerous businesses in Grant County, the U.S. Forest Service and the New Mexico Livestock Board. Posters also have been made and will be hung at forest trail heads.

Funding for the brochures and posters was provided by the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security through the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center.

This summer, volunteers will be trained to give rabies education programs in schools across Grant County when the school year starts again in the fall.

The program is part of NMSU's continuing outreach efforts to help educate and improve the lives of citizens throughout the state.

For more information, contact Walden at (575) 388-1559