September 6, 2017 — On Thursday, September 7 through Tuesday, September 12, between the hours of 8 A.M. and 8 P.M., wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell University will distribute oral rabies vaccine in Staten Island and the Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens. A low-flying USDA helicopter will be used to target the distribution of bait in raccoon habitats, which will include woods, bushes, streambeds, sewers and other areas. Baits will not intentionally be dropped in dense residential areas or on roadways, parking lots, or open fields. Cornell received State funding to pursue this program in New York City for the fourth year in a row. In New York City and New York State, rabies occurs primarily in raccoons, bats and skunks. In case of bad weather, the baiting will be postponed to a later date. Vaccines will also be distributed via bait stations in wooded areas in Brooklyn and Queens from September through October.
The brown, fish-scented baits, which resemble a ketchup packet, conceal a small amount of pink, liquid vaccine. Raccoons are attracted to the odor, and when raccoons chew the bait, they become immunized and cannot be infected with rabies.
The bait itself will not harm people, but in rare instances, exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. In the unlikely event someone comes in contact with the liquid, wash his or her hands with warm, soapy water, talk to their doctor, and notify the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. The bait is not harmful to pets and cannot cause rabies, but it can cause vomiting if several baits are consumed. If pets find the bait, do not try to take it away from them to avoid being bitten and exposed to the vaccine, which can cause a rash.
Areas to be baited:
To help prevent the spread of rabies, New Yorkers are reminded to take the following steps:
For more information on rabies please visit: nyc.gov/health/rabies
For more information on the Oral Rabies Vaccine, please visit the following sites:
New York State Department of Health: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/vaccfact.htm
United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Rabies Management Program: http://tinyurl.com/usda-rabies
USDA: Tanya Espinosa, (301) 851-4092
Cornell University: Laura Bigler, (607) 759-1367
NYC Health Department: firstname.lastname@example.org, (347) 396-4177