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Oral rabies vaccines to be dropped in Chautauqua County

Vaccine drops will be happening in WNY through the end of the month with a drop in Chautauqua County scheduled to take place on August 18.
Credit: USDA

MAYVILLE, N.Y. — An air drop of oral rabies vaccines will be dropped in Chautauqua County beginning Wednesday. This is part of a statewide effort to reduce the presence of the rabies virus in wildlife. 

Distribution of oral rabies vaccine baits has been happening in New York since July 26 and is expected to continue until August 24, according to a release from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services. 

The baits will be dropped by a low flying plane in northern Chautauqua County as well as parts of Erie and Cattaraugus counties. The Village of Brocton, the Towns of Portland, Arkwright and Villenova will be in the area of distribution. 

The vaccine packets consist of a PVC blister pack that is coated in sweet attractants like fats, wax, icing sugar, marshmallow flavor and dark-green food-grade dye. 

People and pets cannot get rabies from coming into contact with bait. People who find baits are asked to leave them or throw them into a wooded area. 

The Chautauqua County DHHS reports that there has been one incident of a rabid raccoon biting on person this year and that there were two incidents of rabid raccoon bites last year. 

“The very real and scary fact is that roughly one in ten animals infected by the rabies virus will become aggressive and attack with no provocation. Other rabid animals may appear tame or docile, and well-meaning animal lovers may be tempted to catch and help the animals,” said William Boria, county director of Environmental Health Services. “People may hear orphaned animals crying for their mother and think they need to care for the animals. However, when people take wild or feral animals home they create a real danger for themselves and their families.”

If a person is exposed and not treated for rabies the result is almost always death.

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