---- — PLATTSBURGH — Rabies vaccinations are being distributed to animals in this area through a bait drop.
The Wildlife Services program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is distributing an oral rabies vaccination bait to inoculate wildlife and help stop the further spread of rabies.
The Plattsburgh project will cover parts of New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and distribute 372,900 baits by fixed-wing aircraft and 4,680 by hand.
Oral rabies vaccine baits are coated with an attractant and packaged in small blister packs.
Anyone who finds oral rabies vaccines is asked to leave them alone.
If contact occurs, wash with soap and water any skin or wounds that may have come into contact with the baits, especially if the bait was damaged.
The baits will be labeled and include a phone number to access for questions or concerns.
If your pet eats a vaccination bait, don’t panic. It is not harmful for pets to consume them, although eating a large number of baits may cause an upset stomach.
Do not risk being bitten or being exposed to the vaccine by taking bait away from your pet, officials say. Check the area where the bait was found and move any remaining baits to a wooded area.
Anyone with questions can call the USDA Wildlife Services at 1 (888) 574-6656.
Essex and Clinton County Public Health Departments remind all residents to avoid contact with stray or wild animals and unknown cats and dogs.
Always notify your doctor or Health Department if you are bitten by a pet or wild animal.
To report an animal bite or possible rabies contact, call the Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500 (1-888-270-7249 after hours); Clinton County Public Health Department at 565-4840 (561-3370 after hours); or Franklin County Public Health at 481-1709 or 891-4471.
It is essential for pet owners to make sure their pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations, health officials say.
Visit www.co.essex.ny/PublicHealth or www.clintonhealth.org for more information on rabies and rabies clinic schedules.