The U.S. Department of Agriculture has begun its oral rabies vaccine initiative in the eastern U.S. to control rabies in wildlife.
"It is important to note that the Niagara-Erie aerial portion of the drop will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, depending on weather conditions," said James Devald, environmental health director. "The initial aerial portion will be followed by hand baiting in the City of Niagara Falls and nearby localities, along with helicopter baiting in selected areas of Niagara and Erie counties through Sept. 4, 2013. Our regional ORV effort will distribute 172,000 ONRAB baits and 31,800 RABORAL V-RG baits throughout Niagara and Erie counties."
Devald emphasized, "People need to take precautions to avoid human or pet contact with the bait. The public is asked to leave the baits in place, keep pets inside and supervise their children so the baits can be consumed by wildlife. However, if an incident of human or domestic animal contact with the bait does happen, the incident needs to be reported immediately to 1-888-574-6656. This number can also be found on the individual bait packets."
"Protecting wildlife from rabies provides a safe environment for the communities we serve. It is an essential public health service," stated Daniel Stapleton, public health director. "Pet owners can help break the cycle of rabies by making sure their family pets are fully vaccinated against rabies. The Niagara County Department of Health offers free rabies vaccination clinics five times a year throughout the county for people who cannot otherwise afford to vaccinate their pets."
The next rabies vaccination clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21, from 2 until 4 p.m. at the Town of Lockport Highway Department, located at 6560 Dysinger Road.
For questions about the ORV initiative, the public can contact USDA at 1-866-487-3297. Niagara County environmental health officers are also available for local assistance for ORV or rabies vaccinations at 716-439-7444.
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