BUFFALO, NY - The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is taking part in a rabies vaccination initiative in the coming weeks.

Beginning August 15 and running through the end of the month, the ECDOH will be distributing an estimated 406,800 rabies vaccines in Erie and Niagara counties.

Some of the bait will be dispersed via airdrop from aircrafts, and some will be distributed by hand from ECDOH staff driving through populated areas.

rabies vaccine

Peter Tripi, Senior Public Health Sanitarian says, “The distribution of vaccine-laden baits by airplane and helicopter throughout Western New York is done annually as an important part of an aggressive action to halt the spread of rabies in wildlife, particularly raccoons [...] Coordinated efforts such as this are essential to protect Erie County residents and their pets from contact with potentially rabid wildlife.”

The ECDOH advises residents not to touch the baits. They say you should wash your hands immediately if you come into direct contact with one, and then call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656.

The ECDOH also has these additional recommendations for your family and pet's safety:

  • Supervise children’s outdoor activities during and for one week following bait distribution
  • Confine dogs and cats indoors and observe leash laws during the bait distribution interval and for one week afterward. This will increase the probability of raccoon vaccination and decrease the chance of pets finding the baits
  • Baits and vaccines are not harmful to domestic animals. However, an animal may vomit if it consumes several baits.
  • Residents should not risk being bitten while trying to remove bait from your pet’s mouth.

For more information you can visit Erie County's website.