County Embarks on Rabies Control Baiting

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Health Department will begin air-dropping rabies vaccines Tuesday. It is part of the county's program to fight the spread of rabies by targeting raccoons.

The rabies vaccine comes in the form of a bait that will attract a raccoon. Tuesday, a helicopter will begin spreading the bait across large residential areas.

Health Commissioner Dr. Anthony Billittier says the program is spearheaded by Cornell University and supported by both the US and Canadian governments in an effort prevent spread of rabies in raccoons. Billittier says the bait is in the form of an oral vaccine that is then eaten by the raccoon.

"A fish product is used in the bait to attract the raccoons," Billittier explained. "So it is very attractive to raccoons. If we can control the spread of rabies in the animal population, then we as humans hopefully won't become exposed to rabies."

Billittier stresses that the bait is not harmful to humans or pets, and are "extremely safe." However, residents are urged not to disturb them if found in yards. There are phone number on the packets if a child or pet were to get into the bait.