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Beginning July 31 and running through August 17, the Allegheny County Health Department and USDA Wildlife Services will distribute raccoon rabies vaccine baits across Allegheny County. This year is different from years past, as baiting will be performed by helicopters. The helicopters will be flying in North-South transects that do go over residential areas. You may see the helicopters moving slowly over the same area multiple times within a short period of time. Distribution of vaccine baits utilizing helicopters is scheduled to occur around August 10 through August 17.
There are two types of bait. One is a plastic sachet (looks like a ketchup packet) coated in fish meal and 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 the public is urged to avoid contact with the bait if possible. If bait must be moved, it should be picked up using rubber or latex gloves or a shovel. The public is also asked to keep their dogs on a leash, indoors, or confined to their property as much as possible during baiting and the week after.
For more information about this program, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit: https://alleghenycounty.us/Health-Department/Programs/Special-Initiatives/Raccoon-Rabies-Vaccination-Baiting.aspx