The City is working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell University to vaccinate raccoons in several areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island from September 29 to the middle of October, 2020.
Vaccination is being done using an oral rabies vaccine bait, sometimes called ORV. The baits are small, brown colored and smell like fish. They are the size of a small ketchup packet. Inside is a pink, liquid vaccine. Raccoons are attracted to the odor, and when raccoons chew the bait, they can become immunized which protects them against infection with rabies.
Baits will be distributed using bait stations or hand tossing, in wooded areas in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. In Staten Island and the Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens, a low-flying helicopter will be used.
Vaccinating raccoons against rabies will protect them from becoming infected with rabies and prevent people and pets from being bitten by a rabid raccoon.
The bait itself does not harm people, but in extremely rare instances, exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. In the unlikely event someone comes in contact with the liquid, they should wash hands with warm, soapy water, talk to their doctor, and notify the Poison Control Center at 1 (800) 222-1222.
The bait is not harmful to pets and cannot cause rabies, but it can cause vomiting if several baits are consumed. If pets find the bait, do not try to take it away from them to avoid being bitten and exposed to the vaccine.
Learn more about rabies.