Rabies Vaccination Baits to be Dropped by Helicopter
The Department of Health has advised residents in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens that rabies vaccine baits will be distributed via helicopter to prevent spread of disease.
Beginning in September, special packets developed by Merial will be dropped via USDA helicopter across Staten Island and Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens. The brown or white packets will be targeted to forested areas, so they shouldn't show up in residential areas, but if you spot one on the ground, don't disturb it. The packets contain a pink liquid rabies vaccine that is not harmful, but could cause a rash if it remains on your skin.
The packets may also be seen tucked into small brown blocks (photos above), and both the small and large types are coated with fishmeal and attractive scents that may draw pets toward them, so if you are walking a dog near a wooded area, watch that they do not find a packet. The medicine is not harmful to pets, but may give them an upset stomach.
In Brooklyn and Queens, bait stations will be placed in areas where wildlife are present, instead of aerial drops.
If you have any questions about the program, you can contact the USDA Wildlife Service at 1-866-4USDAWS (1-866-487-3297), the NYC Dept. of Health via 311, or Raboral, makers of the vaccine packets at 1-877-RABORAL (1-877-722-6725). If you or a pet comes into contact with a vaccine packet, you can reach poison control at 1-800-222-1222.