TICONDEROGA -- The New York State Department of Health is conducting a rabies vaccine bait drop for raccoons in the region through Aug. 31.

The area to be covered includes the entire eastern half of Essex County, extending from Ticonderoga to Chesterfield.

The bait consists of a fish-meal covering and a liquid vaccine center and is identified by a label printed in black that reads "Rabies Vaccine Live Rabies Vector. Do Not Disturb. Merial, Inc US Vet Lic NO 298. 1-877-722-6725."

Raccoons are attracted to the fish-meal bait and become immunized when they consume the vaccine inside.

Contact with the vaccine poses no health threat to humans or domestic animals, according to the New York and Essex County health departments.

It is not possible to get rabies from the vaccine.

During this vaccination campaign, the department recommends that the public:

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

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.

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

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

Wash hands immediately after bare-hand contact with the bait. Report contacts to your county health department.

Don't move baits found near the home if they are not out in the open. If 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.

For more information or to report a contact exposure, call Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500 during business hours or 1-888-270-7249 after hours or on weekends.

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