This week Erie County plans to release a rabies vaccine. Here’s what you need to know about the packets you can find in your backyard.
BUFFALO, NY – Over the next two weeks you may see an airplane or helicopter overhead, spreading the last small packets to keep you safe.
These packages are rabies vaccine, and it is important to know what to do if you have one.
From Tuesday through Saturday, the Erie County Health Department plans to distribute rabies vaccine to rural areas of the county.
Then next week, August 16 to 23, the county will distribute the vaccine to open areas of the city of Buffalo and suburbs. Both of these distribution activities will be carried out by plane or helicopter.
Also, from August 16 to 30, the vaccine packages will be distributed in person, in person throughout the cities of Buffalo, Amherst and Cheektowaga.
Overall, it is predicted that more than 628,000 of these packets, also known as baits, will be distributed throughout Western New York.
“This decoy program is part of a national strategy to eliminate rabies and we are delighted to support this program in Western New York,” said Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein. “Raccoons, foxes and skunks consume this vaccine through bait and it can prevent them from developing this deadly disease as well as passing it on to other wildlife and pets.”
It’s important to know what to do if you, especially your kids or pets, find these packages or baits in your backyard.
Packages are small, slightly larger than a quarter and usually brown in color:
Here are things to keep in mind:
- It is unlikely that bait will last long in your yard: most are eaten within four days, and most will be one within a week.
- Do not touch or move bait. If so, use gloves or plastic bags to pick up and throw in the woods. If it is damaged, throw it out.
- Wash your hands immediately if you touch one of the baits or vaccines, then you must call the New York State Department of Health’s Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656.
- While the vaccine is on the decline and for about a week after the vaccine runs out, keep an eye out for your child. Also, keep your pets indoors or on leashes to help prevent them from disturbing or eating bait.
- If your pet tries to eat one, do not try to get rid of it. Not worth the risk of biting or coming into contact with bait.
- Baits and vaccines don’t harm your pets, but you don’t want your pets to eat a few either. Eating a lot of baits can cause them to vomit.
For more information about the rabies program, you can click here or call the Erie County Department of Health, Environmental Health at 716-961-6800 (Common after hours emergency: 716-961-7898).