This week you might of notice an unusual amount of low-flying helicopters across the area.

There is a good reason for that. The helicopters are part of Erie County's rabies vaccination drop as the county is trying to limit the number of rabies cases in wildlife.

According to their website, helicopters will be the first to make the drop and that will be followed by ground bait distribution.

Helicopter distribution will start around July 30-August 3, depending on weather conditions. Ground bait distribution in urban and suburban areas of Erie County will take place approximately July 29-August 3.

Fixed-wing aircraft will run from about August 15-17 for counties in Western New York: Erie, Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming, also depending on weather conditions. Each year, the USDA distributes about one million baits throughout New York.

Officials with the health department are also telling people that they should Not Touch these tablets. If you do come in contact with one of these packets, you need to call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line (888) 574-6656 with questions or concerns.

Most packets will be eaten by wildlife within four days; almost all baits will be gone within a week. If packets are not found and eaten, they will harmlessly dissolve and the exposed vaccine will become inactivated.

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If you must move a vaccine packet, wear gloves or use a plastic bag or paper towel to pick it up. Place any damaged baits in the trash; throw intact baits into a wooded area for wildlife to consume.

If you do touch a bait trap, you should wash your hands immediately and call the NYSDOH Rabies Information Line.

Rabies can be found in lots of different types of wildlife. Here are the animals that are most commonly affected by rabies.

Animals in Which Rabies is Most Commonly Found

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in North America rabies is most commonly found in bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and mongoose. It is also found in cats, cattle, and dogs. The CDC says that rabid bats have been found in every state except for Hawaii. Rabid mongoose have been found in Puerto Rico.

Rabies is easily transmitted from animals to other animals, including human beings. Human cases are rare in the United States, but deadly if not caught in time.

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