YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County Public Health will be participating this month with the Ohio Department of Health and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services Program to distribute rabies vaccine-laden baits.
Health officials say the goal of the annual operation is to immunize wild raccoons against rabies and prevent the spread of raccoon rabies in Ohio.
Distribution of rabies vaccine-laden baits by aircraft and helicopter will take place in Mahoning County from Monday through Aug. 24.
There is no exposure risk in handling an intact bait. As a precaution, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling any rabies vaccine bait.
Additional recommendations for anyone finding baits:
- Do not attempt to remove baits from an animal’s mouth, as you could be bitten. Ingesting vaccine will not harm your pet. Vomiting from the plastic sachets and diarrhea from the coating of the vaccine have occurred in dogs that have ingested multiple baits.
- Confine your pet and look for other baits in the area. Baits can be removed from the area where your pet could find them and eat them.
- Wear gloves or use a paper towel when you pick up a bait. Although there is no harm in touching an undamaged bait, using these precautions will protect against an unknown exposure to vaccine. Gloves or a paper towel will protect your hands if you have any small cuts.
- Wash your hands and any exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance that the vaccine sachet has been ruptured and its contents have gotten on exposed skin.
- Anyone who may have skin, mucous membrane or eye contact with vaccine, as well as those who have exposed breaks in skin, are pregnant or are immunocompromised, are advised to seek medical attention if they experience any rash, fever, sore throat, headache, conjunctivitis, vomiting or diarrhea within 21 days of the exposure.
In the event of human or pet contact with the bait/vaccine, contact ODH at 888-574-6656 or 614-752-1387.