Allegheny County's Annual Raccoon Rabies Vaccination Baiting Begins July 29
Over the past 20 years there has been a significant reduction in human and pet exposures to rabies throughout Allegheny County. This is largely due to the efforts of the rabies vaccination program for wild raccoons spearheaded by the United States Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services (USDA), who the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) partners with for this massive effort. This year, employees and volunteers of the USDA and ACHD will distribute vaccine-containing baits from July 29 to Aug. 31 across Allegheny County.
The baits will be delivered both by hand from ground vehicles and by aircraft, including helicopters and fixed wing airplanes. Residents might see aircraft moving slowly over the same area multiple times over a short period of time.
There are three different vaccines you could see -- a vaccine packet inside a fishmeal block, a packet coated in fishmeal, or a blister packet coated in a sweet, dark green, waxy coating -- all of which are very tasty to raccoons. The scent attracts the racoons who eat the bait and vaccine, resulting in the development of antibodies to the rabies virus.
The risk of adverse effects to humans and animals due to exposure to the vaccine is minimal, but the public is urged to avoid contact with the bait. If a stray bait must be moved, use rubber or latex gloves or a shovel. Keep dogs on a leash, indoors or confined to their property as much as possible during baiting and the week after.
For more information, visit the Allegheny County Health Department's website.