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USDA will be air-dropping rabies vaccine in WNY, including in western Orleans

Posted 8 August 2020 at 8:33 am

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

Map from NYS Wildlife Rabies Vaccination Program and NYS Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University.

On behalf of Wildlife Services of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments have been notified that they will be distributing the ONRAB oral wildlife rabies vaccine on the western parts of our counties. This program has been in Niagara and Erie counties for several years and has been expanded to include our counties.

This rabies vaccine bait will be air-dropped by a fixed wing plane or a helicopter potentially starting Aug. 11 weather permitting through late August. The ONRAB bait is in a PVC blister pack that contains the rabies vaccine. The bait is coated with a sweet attractant that includes vegetable-based fats, wax, icing sugar, vegetable oil, artificial marshmallow flavor, and dark-green food-grade dye to attract wildlife.

These baits do not contain the live rabies virus and cannot cause rabies. If found near your home, keep children away from it, use gloves or a plastic bag to move the bait to a wooded area where a raccoon, skunk, fox or coyote will be more likely to find it. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after any contact with the bait.

The bait will not hurt your dog or cat as it has been shown to be safe in many different species of animals, including dogs and cats. Eating a large number of baits may cause a temporarily upset stomach for your pet. Do not attempt to remove a bait from your pet’s mouth, doing so may cause you to be bitten and could lead to vaccine exposure. If your pet becomes ill from eating the bait, contact your veterinarian for more information.

The baits are generally eaten within 4 days, and almost all baits are gone in 1 week. If baits are not found and eaten, they will dissolve and expose the vaccine. Sunlight and exposure to air inactivates the vaccine.

For more information about this program call 1-866-487-3297 to speak with staff from Wildlife Services or visit the web: www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife-damage/rabies.

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