August 24, 2018 – On Monday, August 27 through Friday, August 31, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., wildlife biologists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell University will distribute oral rabies vaccines for raccoons in Staten Island and the Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens. A low-flying USDA helicopter will drop bait in raccoon habitats, which include woods, bushes, streambeds and sewers. Baits will not 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 Health Department is committed to ensuring our residents and wildlife are safe by continuing to take preventative measure against rabies,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I thank the United States Department of Agriculture and Cornell University for working with us for many years on this initiative.”
The brown, fish-scented baits resemble a ketchup packet and conceal a small amount of pink, liquid vaccine. Raccoons are attracted to the odor, and when they 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 of coming into contact with the liquid, wash hands with warm, soapy water; talk to a doctor; and notify the Poison Control Center at (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.
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 visit: nyc.gov/health/rabies
For more information on the oral rabies vaccine, visit:
USDA: Tanya Espinosa, (301) 851-4092
Cornell University: Laura Bigler, (607) 759-1367
NYC Health Department: firstname.lastname@example.org, (347) 396-4177