LAKE PLACID — The New York State Department of Health will conduct a rabies-vaccine bait drop for raccoons Thursday and Friday.

The communities to be covered are Wilmington, Jay, Keene, Keene Valley, Lake Placid and Bloomingdale in Essex County and Redford and Black Brook in Clinton County.

The bait consists of a fish-meal covering and a liquid vaccine center. It can be identified by a label printed in black that reads “Rabies vaccine live vaccinia vector. Do not disturb. Merial Inc. U.S. vet lic No 298. 1-877-722-6725.”

Raccoons are attracted to the fish-meal bait and become immunized when they consume the vaccine. Contact with the vaccine poses no health threat to humans or domestic animals.

During this campaign, the New York State and Essex County health departments recommend that people:

E Supervise children outdoors, both during and for one week following the bait distribution, to avoid inadvertent contact with the baits.

E Keep dogs and cats indoors or on leashes outdoors, both during and for one week following bait distribution, to decrease the chance that pets will eat the vaccine.

E Do not try to remove bait from your pet’s mouth, as you may be bitten. The baits are not harmful to dogs or cats but may cause them to vomit if ingested in large numbers.

E Contact your county health department in the unlikely event that a child bites through the packet and ingests the liquid.

E Wash hands immediately after bare-hand contact with the bait. Report contacts to your county health department. It isn’t possible to get rabies from the vaccine.

E Residents are instructed not to move baits found near the home if they are not out in the open. If a bait is found intact and in an area where pets or children are more likely to encounter it, toss it into deeper cover under trees or bushes while wearing gloves.

The State Department of Health is testing for rabies in wild animals, including raccoons, foxes, skunks and coyotes. Dead animals found by residents may be submitted for testing by contacting the Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500 during business hours or at 1-888- 270-7249 after hours or on weekends. People observing raccoons, skunks or coyotes behaving strangely may report that also.

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