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Rabies vaccine to be distributed by air and ground in Erie County

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Posted at 2:59 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 14:59:44-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health announced in coordination with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services a wildlife vaccination program for rabies will take place in the county.

The rabies vaccine will be distributed by air and ground across the county for the next few weeks.

Officials say ground and hand-baiting began on Wednesday in more densely populated urban areas. Helicopters will drop bait to suburban towns and villages as well as open areas of Buffalo from July 31 through August 4. Fixed wing aircraft will distribute vaccine packets to rural areas between August 17 and August 20. The distributions are weather dependent.

You can view a distribution map below.

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"In 2020, this program resulted in the distribution of more than 267,000 vaccine packets in Erie County.
Residents who come in contact with wildlife vaccine packets can call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line (888) 574-6656 with questions or concerns," a release says.

Residents are asked not to disturb the packets as most are eaten within four days and almost all baits will be gone within a week. Officials say if packets are not found and eaten they will harmlessly dissolve and the exposed vaccine will become inactivated.

If you must move a vaccine packet you should wear gloves or use a plastic bag or paper towel to pick it up. Place any damaged baits in the trash and throw intact baits into a wooded area or other raccoon/wildlife habitat.

If you come in direct contact with the vaccine or packets you should wash your hands immediately 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 afterward.
  • Confine dogs and cats indoors and observe leash laws during the bait distribution interval and for one week afterward.
  • This will increase the probability of raccoon vaccination and decrease the chance of pets finding the baits.
  • Baits and vaccines are not harmful to domestic animals. However, an animal may vomit if it consumes several baits.
  • Residents should not risk being bitten while trying to remove bait from your pet’s mouth.

You can find further resources here.