Annual oral rabies vaccine bait program to begin this month in Jefferson County


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (Aug. 3, 2020) – Jefferson County Public Health Service will work with the Wildlife Services program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to distribute oral rabies vaccine baits across the North Country. Weather permitting, baits will be distributed throughout Jefferson County on Aug. 6-10. When raccoons, foxes and coyotes eat the baits, they become vaccinated against rabies, which helps to stop the spread of the disease.

The program will use both aerial baiting with low-flying aircraft and hand baiting in specific areas. Distribution of baits is weather-dependent, and inclement weather may result in extended bait distributions. Each vaccine-containing bait consists of a plastic blister pack coated with a sweet attractant to entice animals.

Follow these simple directions if you find a rabies bait (pictured below):

* Leave the bait untouched, unless d2020 rabies bait.jpgiscovered on a lawn or driveway. Instruct children to leave the baits alone.

* If intact baits are found in areas frequented by pets or children, pick up the baits with paper towel / gloves and toss them into brushy or forested cover.

* If the blister packet containing the vaccine breaks, the liquid vaccine should be visible. Use gloves to place the bait in a plastic bag. Cover the bait with 1:10 dilution of household bleach, and wipe down affected areas with bleach solution. Place cleaning materials in a bag, and dispose of the bag in regular garbage.

* If you have contact with any bait, wash with soap and water. Contact the phone number on the bait or call Jefferson County Public Health Service at (315) 786-3720 for further guidance.

* Do not attempt to take baits away from your pet; you may be bitten. The bait is not harmful to your pet. If by chance numerous baits are consumed, your pet may develop an upset stomach. If your pet ingests a bait, avoid getting the pet’s saliva into your eyes, mucous membranes or on skin lesions for 24 hours.

Always notify your medical provider or JCPHS if you are bitten by a pet or wild animal. It is also essential for people to make sure their pets are up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations. Look for information about rabies clinics at or on


(Jefferson County Public Health Service)