By NewsDesk @bactiman63
New York City health officials report thirty rabies positive animals across the five boroughs to date in 2020: 8 raccoons, 1 skunk, and 1 cat from Bronx, 12 raccoons, 1 cat, and 1 bat from Staten Island, 2 raccoons and 1 cat from Queens, 1 raccoon from Brooklyn, and 2 raccoons from Manhattan.
This has prompted the Health Department, NYC Parks, USDA and Cornell University to distribute oral rabies vaccine to immunize raccoons and protect them from infection with rabies.
On Tuesday, September 29 through Friday, October 9, wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will distribute individual baits containing an oral rabies vaccine, using bait stations or hand tossing, in areas with thick vegetation in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. The Health Department will also fly a helicopter at low altitudes to deploy vaccine in Staten Island’s wooded and marshy areas, and the Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens.
This vaccination program, started by Cornell University in 2014, has occurred every year in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, except for 2019. This year’s effort will include Manhattan to continue the Department’s targeted vaccination efforts from last year in response to isolated rabies outbreaks in Manhattan.
“Rabies is serious and can be deadly for both you and your pets,” said Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi. “This effort will help residents, their pets and wildlife stay safe. New Yorkers should vaccinate their pets and watch them when outdoors. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a safe distance from wildlife.”
“Rabies is a serious illness that poses danger to the entire community. This preventative measure will help maintain the health and safety of all New Yorkers, both human and animal,” said NYC Parks Wildlife Unit Director Richard Simon. “We want to remind New Yorkers to keep a safe distance from raccoons and respect their space – never approach or try to feed them. We’re grateful to the Department of Health and USDA for their continued partnership and effort to sustain healthier wildlife in our parks.”
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