U.S. Army Medical Department, Fort Drum NY
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Annual Rabies Drop Now Underway



Annual Rabies Drop Now Underway

Each year, beginning in August and running through mid September, the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC) Environmental Health staff conducts a rabies bait drop on Fort Drum, and in neighboring areas off post, to include Calcium, Black River and Evans Mills. This effort is an integral part of the county-wide rabies control program operated by Jefferson County Department of Health. The current bait drop will be hand-delivered to wooded areas on the installation as well as in residential housing areas on and off post.

MEDDAC personnel will travel throughout the installation and other designated areas during the bait drop, distributing an estimated 3,500 individual bait morsels. The rabies vaccination program will help eliminate the raccoon strain of rabies from this part of the United States.

Each bait consists of fishmeal, a binder, and fish oil. In the bait vaccine chamber is an oral rabies vaccine intended only for local wildlife ingestion, which is licensed for use against rabid raccoons in the United States. Targeted areas include places where raccoons would normally inhabit or feed. This includes areas near and underbrush, swampy areas with hollow trees, areas near small ponds or other water, and those areas near dumpsters and garbage collection sites.

While the baits are not harmful to people, pets, or wildlife, they will not be placed in open yards, playgrounds, along roadsides, or near Child Development Centers. Anyone who comes upon the baits should not touch or disturb them. If you find your pet eating one of these vaccines, it will not harm them; do not attempt to remove the bait from your pet’s mouth. If your pet drops the bait, or you must contact the bait for some reason, use gloves if possible, and wash your hands immediately after contact. Keeping your pets on leashes will help ensure that baits are only consumed by wildlife.

If you are bitten, scratched, or come in contact with a raccoon, do not assume it has consumed the bait and is inoculated against rabies. Report every raccoon, animal bite, or hands-on contact with the animal to the appropriate local authorities. If the incident takes place on Fort Drum, contact the Veterinary Services Office at (315) 772-4262 or the MEDDAC Urgent Care Clinic at (315) 772-5236.

Fort Drum has participated in the Rabies Vaccination Project for more than a decade. For more information on the rabies drop, contact the MEDDAC Environmental Health Branch at (315) 772-7678 or (315) 772-3629.


(Environmental Health Release)