Fishmeal baits containing the federally-licensed, RABORAL V-RG® rabies vaccine will be distributed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) helicopter and Nassau County Department of Health vehicles in the southwestern portion of Nassau County (Atlantic Beach, Bay Park, Cedarhurst, East Rockaway, Hewlett, Inwood, Lakeview, Lawrence, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Malverne, Oceanside, Rockville Centre, Valley Stream, Woodmere and Woodsburgh) beginning on Tuesday, October 14. Weather permitting, the bait distribution will conclude on October 24, 2014. Cornell University coordinates a cooperative rabies control program with local health agencies and other partners in the Metropolitan-NY area. The regional program seeks to prevent the eastward spread of rabies into Nassau County. As a result of successful oral rabies vaccination program terrestrial rabies cases have not been found in Nassau County since 2007. The RABORAL V-RG® vaccine is not harmful to people, pets or wildlife. However, dogs that consume several baits may develop an upset stomach, with no long-term health effects. A wild animal is vaccinated against rabies when it bites into a bait containing the vaccine. Confine dogs and cats indoors and keep your pets on leashes during the bait distribution interval and for one week afterward to increase the likelihood that raccoons will find the baits. Do not risk being bitten while attempting to remove a bait from your pet’s mouth.
If the baits are observed in the environment, please do not touch or move. If an intact bait is found in the open where pets or children may find it, please toss the bait under trees or bushes while wearing gloves or using a plastic bag. If contact with the bait or vaccine occurs, rinse the area with warm, soapy water, and then call the Poison Control Center at 212-764-7667. Rabies is a serious viral infection that affects the nervous system of raccoons and other mammals, including people. The disease is usually fatal once clinical signs of infection occur. Distribution of the oral vaccine will help to decrease the chance of human and domestic animal interactions with rabid wildlife. Check your veterinary records to be sure that your pets are current with their rabies vaccinations. The wildlife rabies vaccine is not available to homeowners; the vaccine baits are only licensed for use in state-approved, wildlife rabies vaccination programs.
For additional information about the Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination Program in Metropolitan- NY, contact Cornell University at 607-253-3968. More information about Nassau County Department of Health’s rabies baiting program can be found at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Health/rabies.html or by calling 516-227-9663.