JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Jefferson County Public Health Service has announced they will be working with the Wildlife Services program of the United States Department of Agriculture in order to distribute oral rabies vaccine baits.

Oral rabies vaccines will be distributed throughout Jefferson County from July 26 through August 24, weather permitting. The oral rabies vaccine works by having each bait consist of a plastic blister pack coated with a sweet attractant to entice the animals.

If the public sees rabies bait, Jefferson County officials recommend the following:

  • Leave it untouched, unless discovered on a lawn or driveway. Instruct children to leave the baits alone.
  • If intact baits are found in areas frequented by pets or children, pick up with paper towel/gloves and toss them into brushy or forested cover.
  • If the blister packet containing the vaccine breaks, the liquid vaccine should be visible. Use gloves to place the bait in a plastic bag. Cover the bait with 1:10 dilution of household bleach, and wipe down affected areas with bleach solution. Place cleaning materials in a bag and dispose of the bag in regular garbage.
  • If anyone has contact with any bait, wash with soap and water. Contact the phone number on the bait or call Jefferson County Public Health Service at 315-786-3720 for further guidance.
  • Do not attempt to take baits away from your pet; you may be bitten. The bait is not harmful to your pet. If by chance numerous baits are consumed, your pet may develop an upset stomach. If your pet ingests a bait, avoid getting the pet’s saliva into your eyes, mucous membranes or on skin lesions for 24 hours.

Jefferson County is also urging the public to notify a medical provider or to notify Jefferson County Public Health if they or their pet has been bitten by a wild animal. The finalized schedule will be posted online and on JCPHS’ Facebook page.