Cooperating Federal, State, and county agencies are conducting an oral raccoon rabies baiting project in western Pennsylvania. A vaccine packet is coated or placed inside a fishmeal block, which is very tasty to raccoons. The baits are dropped from low-flying airplanes or helicopters, or by local teams on foot or in vehicles.
Over the past 16 years there has been a significant reduction in human and pet exposures to rabies throughout Allegheny County. This is largely due to the efforts of the rabies vaccination program for wild raccoons spearheaded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (USDA), who the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) partners with for this massive effort. This year, employees and volunteers of ACHD and the UDSA will be distributing vaccine-containing baits from August 4th through August 11th across Allegheny County. Baits will be delivered by hand and from vehicles in every municipality of the County. The attached flyer contains images of the two types of bait: One is a plastic sachet (looks like a ketchup packet) coated in fish meal, the other is a plastic sachet enclosed in a fish meal block. The fish scent attracts the raccoons who consume the bait and vaccine, resulting in the development of antibodies to the rabies virus.
The risk of adverse effects to humans and animals due to exposure to the vaccine is minimal, but we urge the public to avoid contact with the bait if possible. If a stray bait must be moved, it should be picked up using rubber or latex gloves or a shovel. We are also asking the public to keep their dogs on a leash, indoors, or confined to their property as much as possible during baiting and the week after.
In years past, we have specifically had problems with off-leash dogs consuming the baits in parks. Parks are common raccoon habitats and therefore important areas to bait. This interferes with their intended purpose and concerns and upsets citizens. Feel free to post the attached sign in community parks.
Find out more at: http://achd.net/raccoon/