In a proactive move to fight rabies, Allegheny County will begin distributing raccoon bait containing rabies vaccine Aug. 15 .
Employees with the Allegheny County Health Department will distribute the bait by hand, on foot and from vehicles in all the county's municipalities.
Two types of bait will be used: one in which vaccine contained in a plastic sachet is enclosed in fishmeal pellets and a second in which the plastic sachet is coated with fish oil scent. The vaccine, when consumed by the raccoons, helps them develop antibodies to the rabies virus.
The baits pose no threat to humans or pets, according to the health department.
Rabies is a viral infection that can affect the nervous system of any mammal, including humans. It is nearly always fatal.
Aerial baiting drops that may include parts of rural Allegheny County are scheduled to begin Sept. 5.
The Oral Rabies Vaccination Project is conducted by the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Health, Allegheny County Health Department, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.