Chopper dropping rabies vaccine on Staten Island for raccoons

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A helicopter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week is dropping bait packets onto Staten Island in an effort to vaccinate raccoons against rabies, officials said.

Wildlife biologists from the USDA and Cornell University have teamed up for the effort.

The bait drop is happening from Monday, August 17, through Wednesday, August 19, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day.

The fish-scented bait containers are brown, contain a pink liquid, and are about the size of a fast-food ketchup packet. When raccoons eat the packets, the vaccine immunizes them from contracting rabies.

"The bait itself will not harm people, but in rare instances, exposure to the liquid can cause a rash," according to a news release from the city government. "In the unlikely event someone comes in contact with the liquid, wash his or her hands with warm, soapy water, talk to their doctor, and notify the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222."

The helicopter will target known raccoon habitats, such as woods, bushes, streambeds, sewers, and more, according to the news release.