OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Health Department is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture again this year in a rabies vaccine distribution program to prevent the spread of raccoon rabies in New York State.
Planes flying over rural northern Oswego County will drop packets of rabies vaccine between today (Aug. 28) and Sept. 3.
The days and times of the rabies bait drops will depend on weather conditions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“An immunized raccoon population decreases rabies exposure to people and domestic animals,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Public Health Director. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The USDA distributes a vaccine which has been shown to be safe in more than 60 different species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. As is previous years, low-flying planes will drop packets of vaccine on areas north of the Salmon River in the towns of Redfield, Orwell, Boylston, Sandy Creek, Richland and Albion.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Aircraft will depart from Clinton County Airport in Plattsburgh.
The Health Department staff will assist by placing bait packets near dumpsters, streams and wooded areas in the villages of Pulaski, Sandy Creek, and Lacona.
Oral rabies vaccine baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and are packaged in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets.
Although the vaccine is not harmful to pets or humans, the bait packets should not be disturbed.
As a precautionary measure, residents are advised to avoid touching any bait and to watch their pets to make sure they avoid them as well.
Some pets have gotten an upset stomach because of the high fat content in the fishmeal polymer bait coating.
If owners discover a pet eating a bait packet, they should not risk being bitten or touching the bait by attempting to remove it from the animalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mouth.
According to the USDA, although it has happened rarely in other states, the vaccine can potentially get into a personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s system and may cause a reaction.
For more information or to report contact with a bait packet, call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564, or the New York State Department of Health at 1-877-722-6725.
For more information about the oral rabies vaccine program, call the U.S. Department of AgricultureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Wildlife Services office at 1-866-4 USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297) or visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/oral_rabies/