Rabies vaccine airdrop underway in Erie, Niagara counties

File photo of a raccoon. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Public health authorities in Western New York are conducting baited vaccine airdrops this week to reduce rabies in the local wildlife population.

The Erie County Department of Health says fixed-wing aircraft began dropping rabies vaccine baits on Tuesday in areas of Erie and Niagara counties. Airdrops from helicopters are tentatively scheduled to begin Monday and conclude the following Saturday.

Health department personnel will also be distributing baited vaccines on foot and from vehicles.

So far this year, 16 animals in Erie County have tested positive for rabies. Officials say most were bats and raccoons, but some skunks and foxes also had the disease.

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