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Rabies vaccine bait distribution set to begin August 1

As it has done in previous years, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Rabies Management Program is partnering with the Erie County Health Department to distribute rabies vaccines this summer. to wild animal populations.

Map of New York State showing 2022 oral rabies vaccination areas.

Oral rabies vaccines – small green packets the size of a quarter coin – will be dropped by helicopter from August 1-5. Ground bait distribution in urban and suburban areas of Erie County will also begin around August 1. Fixed-wing aircraft will operate approximately August 15-18 for western New York counties: Erie, Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming. This schedule depends on weather conditions.

“Protecting pets with a rabies vaccine is quite easy with a visit to the veterinarian or one of our free rabies vaccination clinics,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr Gale Burstein. “Vaccinating wildlife in all corners of the county is much more difficult. But with the USDA and its oral rabies vaccination program, animals like raccoons, skunks and foxes – which are reservoirs of the rabies virus – are protected against this deadly disease. This adds another layer of rabies protection for pets and humans.

“We need to be vigilant when it comes to preventing rabies in wildlife populations,” said Peter Tripi, public health officer for public health, who manages the county’s vector control program. . “By reducing the risk of this disease in wild animals, we are adding an extra line of defense to protect animal health and public health. I greatly appreciate the effective partnership that ECDOH and USDA have forged, with them in the sky and us in the field.

Image of oral rabies vaccine bait, front and back, next to quarter piece to show size.

Residents who come into contact with wildlife vaccine packages can call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line (888) 574-6656 with any questions or concerns.

– Do not disturb the vaccine packages. Most packets are consumed within four days; almost all bait will be gone within a week. If the packets are not found and eaten, they will harmlessly dissolve and the exposed vaccine will become inactivated. If you must move a vaccine package, wear gloves or use a plastic bag or paper towel to pick it up. Place damaged bait in the trash; discard undamaged bait in a wooded area or other raccoon/wildlife habitat.– Residents should wash their hands immediately if they come into direct contact with the vaccine or packages, then call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line at (888) 574-6656.

Additional recommendations include:

– Supervise children’s outdoor activities during bait distribution and for one week thereafter.

– Confine dogs and cats indoors and obey leash laws during the baiting interval and for one week after. This will increase the likelihood of raccoon vaccinations and decrease the chances of pets finding the bait.

– Baits and vaccines are not harmful to pets. However, an animal may vomit if it consumes multiple baits.

– Residents should not risk being bitten when trying to remove the bait from your pet’s mouth.