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Rabies baits being dropped via air across Mahoning County beginning today in Sebring

The vaccine is enclosed in a 1 inch by 2 inch blister pack filled with the vaccine and covered with a sweet-smelling, dark green, waxy coating. (Submitted photo)

YOUNGSTOWN– Mahoning County Public Health will be participating with the Ohio Department of Health and the USDA’s Wildlife Services Program to distribute rabies vaccine-laden baits in 13 participating counties. The goal of the annual operation is to immunize wild raccoons against rabies and prevent the spread of raccoon rabies in Ohio. The Sebring and Youngstown areas will be baited via a red and black helicopter today through Monday and baiting in the rest of Mahoning County will take place Aug. 11-20 via a fixed wing aircraft, weather permitting.

There is no risk to someone handling an intact bait. If you need to handle a bait,

— Wear gloves or use a paper towel when picking up the bait. Although there is no harm in touching the undamaged bait, using gloves or a paper towel will protect against an unknown exposure to the liquid inside the bait and 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 (liquid inside the bait) have gotten on any exposed skin.

— If you have skin, mucous membrane, or eye contact with the liquid inside the bait, or have exposed breaks in skin, are pregnant, or are immunocompromised, seek medical attention if you experienced any rash, fever, sore throat, headache, conjunctivitis, vomiting, or diarrhea within 21 days of the exposure.

Dogs who have ingested multiple baits may experience vomiting or diarrhea due to the plastic sachet and the coating of the vaccine. Baits may be removed from an area where a pet could find them and eat them.

All adverse reactions should be reported to the Ohio Department of Health at 1-888-574-6656 or 614-752-1387.

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