Healthy Living: Local News
Rabies 'Bait' Distributed Across NNY
Story Updated: Aug 21, 2012
The annual rabies bait drop is underway in northern New York.
Crews from the U.S. Department of Agriculture dropped the rabies bait from an airplane over the weekend, covering much of Jeffeerson County.
They'll follow up this week, distributing more bait by hand in villages and the City of Watertown. Bait drops are also underway in St. Lawrence County, where each town is doing its own distribution.
Distribution in St. Lawrence County was expanded this year to the northern part of the county - Potsdam, Massena, Norwood, Norfolk and Brasher Falls.
"We've been quite successful, which is why we continue to do it year after year," said Myrna Barney from St. Lawrence County's public health department.
So far this year, two racoons and a bat have tested positive for rabies.
The rabies bait is designed to attract racoons, which are a main spreader of rabies.
Each bait is about one by two inches, in a teal green pack.
It's vegetable fat, sugar and artificial flavors surrounding a vaccine the racoons eat.
If you run across one of the baits, handle it with gloves or a paper towel, toss it into the woods and throw away any damaged baits.
If your skin contacts the bait, rinse the affected area with warm water and soap and call either the number on the package or the Jefferson County Public Health Service at 786-3720.
The vaccine is not harmful to pets, though a statement from Jefferson County Public Health notes "eating a large number of baits may cause an upset stomach."
Of course, rabies is a virus that is spread through saliva, and is almost always fatal if left untreated.