Rabies Vaccine Bait Drop Program Scheduled to Begin August 15th
News and updates
August 8, 2023
Attention Community Members:
In coordination with the Cattaraugus County Department of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services) seeks to control and eliminate terrestrial rabies through the wildlife oral rabies vaccination (ORV) program.
The oral wildlife rabies vaccine (ONRAB®) is contained in green baits comprised of vegetable shortening, wax, icing sugar, vegetable oil and flavoring. Raccoons are vaccinated against rabies when they eat the wildlife rabies vaccine that is contained within the Ultralite® baits. Fixed-wing aircraft (white with red and blue trim) will be used to distribute baits over areas of Cattaraugus County. Baits are contained in small green packets the size of a quarter (see attached photo).
Aerial distribution (weather dependent) will start on or about August 15th with fixed-wing aircraft and take three days to complete. The affected townships in Cattaraugus County include Perrysburg, Dayton, Persia, Otto, East Otto, Ashford, Yorkshire, Machias, Freedom, and Farmersville.
Terrestrial rabies cases have persisted in Western NY Counties since the early 1990’s. Rabies is nearly always fatal in unvaccinated animals, a very costly health threat that impacts people, pets, domestic livestock and wildlife. Immunization of wildlife will help to reduce the number of rabies cases and prevent the continued spread of the fatal virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, greater than 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the United States are in wildlife. The cooperative USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) was established in 1997 to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies in the United States by containing and eventually eliminating the virus in terrestrial mammals. The majority of the NRMP efforts are focused on controlling raccoon rabies, which continues to account for most of the reported wildlife rabies cases in the U.S. Raccoon rabies occurs in all states east of the established ORV zone that extends from Maine to northeastern Ohio to northeastern Alabama. Continued access to oral vaccine and bait options that are effective in all target wildlife species remains critical to long term success.
- Wash your hands immediately if you come into direct contact with the vaccine or bait, then call the NYS Department of Health at (1-888-574-6656).
- 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 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