Rabies vaccine packets being distributed throughout parts of Erie County

Erie County

(Left – Image of bait packet with quarter coin to indicate size; provided by the
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Right – Image of helicopter used for wildlife vaccine distribution, 2020.)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Department of Health is distributing vaccine packets to help lessen the spread of rabies among wildlife.

Ground and hand-baiting began in densely-populated areas on Wednesday. From Saturday through next Wednesday, helicopters will be dropping the packets in suburban towns, villages and open areas of Buffalo.

(Image of Wildlife Rabies Vaccination Zones

This will be followed by the dispending of packets from fixed wing aircraft in rural areas from August 17 to 20.

Last year, more than 267,000 packets were distributed throughout the county.

Anyone who sees a packet shouldn’t touch it. Most of the time, they’re eaten by wildlife within four days.

If you encounter one that needs to be moved, use gloves or something other than your bare hands to pick it up. If you do happen to touch it, though, wash your hands immediately and call the state’s Rabies Information Line at (888) 574-6656.

Damaged baits can be thrown out, but intact ones can be placed in a wooded area or other wildlife habitat.

Any baits that aren’t eaten will dissolve without harm. The exposed vaccine will then become inactive.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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