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Wildlife Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Program

Program overview

This vital service distributes oral rabies vaccine in places where wildlife will eat it. When foxes, skunks, raccoons, woodchucks and other mammals eat these small green packets the size of a quarter coin, they gain protection against rabies, a virus that is 100% fatal. 

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), in coordination with the NY State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, will participate in this wildlife vaccination program for rabies.  Bait will be distributed by aircraft and by workers on the ground. All distributions are weather-dependent. Rabies airdrop bait in hand

  • July 29, 2003 - August 3, 2003 or upon bait arrival: Ground and hand-baiting distributed in more densely populated urban areas by ECDOH and USDA personnel.
  • July 30, 2003 - August 3, 2003: Helicopters will drop bait to suburban towns and villages and open areas of the City of Buffalo.
  • August 15-17, 2023: Fixed wing aircraft will distribute vaccine packets to rural areas. 

ORV bait map

If you see the wildlife vaccine packets 

Call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line at (888) 574-6656 with questions or concerns.

Do NOT disturb vaccine packets. Most packets are eaten within four days; almost all baits will be gone within a week. If packets are not found and eaten, they will harmlessly dissolve and exposed vaccine will become inactivated.

If you must move a vaccine packet:

  • Wear gloves or use a plastic bag or paper towel to pick it up. 
  • Place any damaged baits in the trash.
  • Throw intact baits into a wooded area or other raccoon/wildlife habitat.
  • Residents should WASH HANDS IMMEDIATELY if they come into direct contact with the vaccine or packets, then call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line at (888) 574-6656.

Rabies airdrop helicopter

Rabies airdrop airplane

Additional recommendations include:

  • Supervise children’s outdoor activities during bait distribution and for one week afterward.
  • Confine dogs and cats indoors and observe leash laws during the bait distribution interval and for one week afterward. This will increase the probability of raccoon vaccination and decrease the chance of pets finding the baits. 
  • Baits and vaccines are not harmful to domestic animals. However, an animal may vomit if it consumes several baits. You should not risk being bitten while trying to remove bait from your pet’s mouth.  

Program Materials

Related information