Niagara County joins effort to prevent spread of rabies in WNY

Posted at 9:11 AM, Jul 28, 2022

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Niagara County Department of Health announced Thursday that they will collaborate to wipe out terrestrial rabies through the dissemination of an oral rabies vaccine.

The project will be led by the U.S Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The vaccine dissemination will include hand and aerial distribution of rabies vaccine-containing baits. Hand baiting is expected from Aug. 1-5 in areas of Niagara Falls. Aerial distribution from Aug. 1-5 and Aug. 15-18 in densely populated and rural areas.

"During the baiting period, residents may see and hear low-flying aircraft over Niagara and other Western NY counties - (including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming)," said Environmental Health Director Paul Dicky. "Additionally, Niagara County program staff will help distribute green blister packets by hand and car around Niagara Falls neighborhoods."

When an animal bites into one of the baits, the vaccine will release into their mouth, and they will develop an immunity to rabies.

The Niagara County DOH recommends the following when it comes to any contact between the baits and yourself, children, and/or pets:

  • In the event of direct contact with a bait or vaccine, please call the NYS Department of Health rabies information line at 1-888-574-6656.
  • Wash your hands immediately if you come into direct contact with the vaccine or bait, then call 1-888-574-6656.
  • Supervise children's outdoor activities during bait distribution and for one week afterward. This will increase the probability of raccoon vaccination and will decrease the chance of pets finding the baits.
  • The baits and vaccines are not harmful to domestic animals; however, an animal may vomit if it consumes several baits. Do not risk being bitten while trying to remove a bait from your pet's mouth.
  • Call 1-888-574-6656 if you see your pet with bait in its mouth and cannot read the label
  • If baits are observed in the environment, please leave them alone. Labels identify the bait: "Rabies Vaccine DO NOT EAT, Live adenovirus vector. MNR 1-888-574-6656."
  • If a bait is intact and out in the open where pets or children may find it, please toss the bait under trees or bushes. Wear gloves or use a plastic bag to pick up the bait.
  • If a bait is broken and the liquid vaccine is visible, wear gloves, and cover the bait and affected area with a 1:10 solution of bleach and water, place the bait in a plastic bag, and dispose of the bag in the household trash.