NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Efforts to protect animals and people from rabies will continue next month in Niagara County.

Starting August 1, rabies vaccine-containing baits will be dispersed throughout the county. When an animal bites into these baits, which are coated with a sweet attractant, the vaccine is released. Health officials say that with an adequate dose, the animal will develop an immunity to rabies.

“Rabies is a viral infection that affects the nervous system of raccoons, skunks and other mammals, including
people,” Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton said. “Rabies continues to be a serious public health concern, and fatal in unvaccinated animals.”

Here’s the plan, courtesy of the Niagara County Department of Health:

  • August 1-5: Hand baiting in areas of Niagara Falls, helicopter distribution in more densely populated areas
  • August 15-18: Fixed-wing aircraft distribution over more rural areas

These baits, which appear as labeled green blister packets, should be left alone if found, unless they’re in an area frequented by pets or children. If a person comes into contact with one, they should wash their hands immediately and call the state’s rabies information line at 1-888-574-6656.

“During the baiting period, residents may see and hear low-flying aircraft over Niagara and other western NY counties (including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming),” Environmental Health Director Paul Dicky said.

Information on rabies clinics in Niagara County can be found here.

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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.