NORTHEAST OHIO Campaign gives rabies vaccine to wildlife

People are asked to keep pets inside or on leashes for at least a week after their area is baited.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Beginning today and running through Sept. 30, local, state and federal health and wildlife officials are conducting a campaign in Northeast Ohio to immunize wild raccoons against rabies.
The oral vaccine is distributed by low-flying aircraft in rural areas and by ground teams in vehicles in more urban settings, said Rick Setty of the Mahoning County Board of Health.
Pet owners are asked to keep dogs and cats inside or on leashes for at least a week after their area is baited. Dogs, in particular, find the baits attractive, as the shell is made of fishmeal. Although eating the baits is not harmful to dogs, they may bring them to the attention of their owners, who then might have contact with the vaccine liquid.
Safety tips
Do not handle the baits with bare hands, but should a human touch the vaccine, wash the exposed area thoroughly with soap and water. Direct questions about the vaccination or baits that have been found to the Ohio Department of Health rabies information line at (888) 722-4371.
Here are tips to protect against rabid animals.
U Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, and be cautious of stray dogs and cats. Rabid animals do not always appear vicious.
U Teach children to leave wildlife alone. Be sure your children know to tell you if an animal bites or scratches them.
U Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats or ferrets against rabies, and keep the vaccinations current.
U Tightly close garbage cans. Open trash attracts wild or stray animals to your home or yard.
U Feed your pets indoors; never leave pet food outside, because this attracts wildlife.
U Call your doctor for advice if an animal bites you. Report the bite to your local health department.

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