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Over the past 16 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 ACHD and the UDSA will be distributing vaccine-containing baits from August 4th through August 11th across Allegheny County. Baits will be delivered by hand and from vehicles in every municipality of the County. The attached flyer (found below) contains images of the two types of bait: One is a plastic sachet (looks like a ketchup packet) coated in fish meal, the other is a plastic sachet enclosed in a fish meal block. The fish scent attracts the raccoons who consume 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 County urges the public to avoid contact with the bait if possible. If a stray bait must be moved, it should be picked up using rubber or latex gloves or a shovel. The County also asks the public to keep their dogs on a leash, indoors, or confined to their property as much as possible during baiting and the week after.
In years past, the County has specifically had problems with off-leash dogs consuming the baits in parks. Parks are common raccoon habitats, therefore important areas to bait.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS, NOTICES, AND FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THE PROGRAM