Rabies bait drop gets underway

Local and federal officials will be distributing oral rabies baits this summer.
Local and federal officials will be distributing oral rabies baits this summer.(Jefferson County Public Health)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:29 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Local and federal officials started distributing oral rabies baits this week.

Jefferson County Public Health officials announced that the distribution will continue through August 24, weather permitting. Local officials will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to distribute the baits.

Some will be dropped from low-flying aircraft and others will be dropped by hand.

When animals such as raccoons, foxes, and coyotes eat the bait, they become vaccinated against rabies.

Here’s what officials say to do if you come across one:

- Leave it untouched, unless discovered on a lawn or driveway. Instruct children to leave the baits alone.

- If intact baits are found in areas frequented by pets or children, pick them up with paper towels or gloves and toss them into brushy or forested cover.

- If the blister packet containing the vaccine breaks, the liquid vaccine should be visible. Use gloves to place the bait in a plastic bag. Cover the bait with 1:10 dilution of household bleach, and wipe down affected areas with bleach solution. Place cleaning materials in a bag and dispose of the bag in regular garbage.

- If you have contact with any bait, wash with soap and water. Contact the phone number on the bait or call Jefferson County Public Health Service at 315-786-3720 for further guidance.

- Do not attempt to take baits away from your pet; you may be bitten. The bait is not harmful to your pet. If by chance numerous baits are consumed, your pet may develop an upset stomach. If your pet ingests a bait, avoid getting the pet’s saliva into your eyes, mucous membranes or on skin lesions for 24 hours.

Officials say it’s important for people to have their pets vaccinated against rabies. Public Health is currently working to schedule rabies clinics. They’ll be posted at or

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