The city’s Health Department and the United States Department of Agriculture will drop rabies vaccine baits in Staten Island’s wooded and marshy areas by helicopter the following month.
This is brought on by the rise in raccoon cases of rabies in New York City. On Staten Island, the disease was found in two bats, one raccoon, and one cat, according to the Health Department.
In addition to the Staten Island helicopter drop, which will happen between early and mid-October, the agencies will start distributing individual baits containing an oral rabies vaccine using bait stations or hand tossing in wooded areas of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan starting on Monday. According to Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, rabies is a serious disease that can affect both people and dogs. “New Yorkers should maintain the rabies vaccination status of their pets and maintain a safe distance from wildlife. If you see an animal acting strangely, call 311 right away.
Rabies can be spread if a rabid animal bites a person or a pet. In New York City, raccoons are the main animals affected by rabies. The rabies virus affects the central nervous system. If a person or animal does not receive the right medical attention after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause brain damage and eventually result in death.
18 animals in the city have tested positive for rabies. In Queens, seven raccoons had positive tests; in the Bronx, five raccoons and two skunks had positive tests.
The tiny, brown-colored baits, which resemble ketchup packets and have a fishy scent; inside is a tiny amount of pink liquid vaccination. Raccoons are drawn to the scent, and when they eat the bait, they may become inoculated, preventing them from contracting rabies. According to Sarah Aucoin, director of education and wildlife for NYC Parks, if you see a raccoon, give it space and never approach or try to feed it. “While coming into contact with a rabid raccoon is very rare, raccoons are residents of our city,” she added.
To defend oneself from rabies:
• Never approach or feed stray dogs, cats, or wild animals.
• Garbage should be kept in firmly sealed containers.
• Any animal displaying aggressive behavior should be avoided.
• Any wild animal that seems sick or seems unusually friendly should be avoided. To report an ill animal, dial 311.
• Animal attacks or attacks should be reported to 911.
• Never try to separate animals that are fighting.