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Aug. 19, 2005

Rabies Vaccine Drop Is Scheduled for Next Week

Planes are scheduled to drop thousands of packets of rabies vaccine over northern Oswego County next week. The bait drop is scheduled to begin Aug. 22 over areas of Redfield, Orwell, Boylston and Sandy Creek, and Richland and Albion north of the Salmon River. The project is part of an international program to eradicate rabies from wildlife across northern New York and through the St. Lawrence River valley to northern Oswego County.

The Oswego County Health Department is working with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University to distribute over 32,000 bait packages containing rabies vaccine from planes. As in previous years, the county health department staff will also walk through the villages of Pulaski, Sandy Creek, and Lacona and place 1,000 more baits near dumpsters, streams and wooded areas.

The planes will depart from the Ogdensburg Airport.

"The program has been successful in eliminating raccoon rabies from the St. Lawrence River Valley," said Kathleen Smith, Oswego County Commissioner of Ehalth Services. "So far this year the health department has confirmed two rabid bats and one rabid raccoon in Oswego County. An immunized raccoon population will decrease rabies exposure to people and domestic animals."

Planes will drop soft plastic packets, about two inches long, that contain rabies vaccine mixed with fishmeal and a wax binder. Hand baits are two-inch cubes of fishmeal with a packet of rabies vaccine in the center.

Although the vaccine isn't harmful to pets or humans, the bait packets shouldn't be disturbed. If your pet eats a bait packet or brings one home, report it to the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564, or the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, phone 1-888-715-7785.

Other partners in the project include the state Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, USDA, and the Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario, Canada. The program extends to several other counties in the state, including Lewis, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Niagara, Erie and Chautauqua counties.

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