The annual distribution of baits containing rabies vaccine for wild animals began in Erie County Wednesday and will start Saturday in Niagara County, weather permitting.
The county health departments said baits will be dropped from helicopters for four or five days, starting Saturday, in open areas in Buffalo and other cities and in suburbs.
Distribution of baits on foot by health workers in urban areas is to last until Wednesday, and airdrops from low-flying planes in rural areas are scheduled to start Aug. 17 and will last two or three days.
The liquid vaccine is inside a bait that comes in a green blister pack coated with a sweet substance, meant to attract raccoons and other animals.
Humans and pets cannot contract rabies from the baits, but the health departments said anyone who finds a bait should leave it alone. If a person touches it or a pet eats or bites it, the incident should reported to a state Health Department hotline at (888) 574-6656.