NYC is vaccinating raccoons from Harlem to Hollis, Queens

The Department of Health and NYC Parks, along with federal partners, will provide vaccinations raccoons against rabies v New York City.

“Rabies threaten raccoons, which can pose a risk to other wild mammals, humans and pets,” said Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan. “For everyone’s safety, New Yorkers should ensure their pets have current rabies vaccinations. As a precaution, keep your distance from wildlife and please call 311 if you see an animal that you think is behaving strangely.”

“While contact with a rabid raccoon is very rare, raccoons are residents of our city and New Yorkers should be warned – if you see a raccoon, give them space and never approach or attempt to feed them. Do your part to keep raccoons healthy by placing trash in tightly closed containers and not feeding your pets outside,” said Sarah Aucoin, Department of Education and Wildlife Manager. NYC parks. “We are proud to partner with the Department of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as we take this precautionary measure to promote healthier wildlife in our parks.”

On October 30Thursday through early November, USDA biologists will distribute individual baits containing oral rabies vaccine using bait stations or hand-casting in wooded areas in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. This follows the lures made earlier this year Staten Island using a helicopter.

Baits are distributed annually by the USDA and numerous state/local partners in the eastern United States with the goal of preventing the spread of raccoon rabies to the western United States and eventually eliminating the raccoon rabies variant.

The small brown-colored lures smell fishy and resemble a ketchup packet that contains a small amount of pink liquid vaccine. Raccoons are attracted to the scent, and when raccoons chew the bait, they can become immunized and protect themselves from rabies infection.

The bait itself will not harm humans, but in very rare cases, exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. In the unlikely event that someone comes into contact with the liquid, they should wash their hands with warm, soapy water, talk to their doctor, and notify the NYC Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. The bait is not harmful to pets and cannot cause rabies, but it can cause nausea and vomiting if several baits are consumed. If pets find the bait, do not try to take it from them to avoid being bitten and exposed to the vaccine.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if bitten by a rabid animal. in NYC, rabies is mostly found in raccoons. If a person or animal does not receive proper medical care after potential exposure to rabies, the virus can cause brain disease that eventually results in death. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wild animals, and seeking medical attention after potential exposure before symptoms begin.

So far in 2023 twelve (12) animals (4 raccoons from Queens, 1 cat and 4 raccoons from Staten Island, 1 bat from Manhattan, 1 skunk from Brooklyn, and 1 skunk from the Bronx) tested positive for rabies.


  • Raccoons live in New York; if you see one during the day, be careful, but don’t panic. Being out during the day doesn’t mean it’s rare, it could just be foraging.
  • Do not feed the raccoons.
  • Observe raccoons from afar.
  • For more information about raccoons visit WildlifeNYC.

To protect yourself from rabies:

  • Do not touch or feed wild animals, stray dogs or cats.
  • Store waste in tightly closed containers.
  • Stay away from any animal that behaves aggressively.
  • Stay away from any wild animal that looks sick or is unusually friendly. Call 311 to report a sick animal.
  • Animals that have attacked or appear to attack should be reported to 911.
  • Do not try to separate fighting animals.

To protect your pet from rabies:

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  • Keep pet vaccinations up to date.
  • Keep your dog on a lead when outside.
  • Do not leave your pets outside unattended.
  • If your pet has been in contact with an animal that may be rare, contact your veterinarian immediately and report the incident to 311.
  • Feed your pets indoors.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:

  • Wash the wound immediately with plenty of soap and water.
  • Seek medical attention from your healthcare provider.
  • If you do not own the animal and it can be captured by authorized personnel, call 311.
  • If the animal is a pet, get the owner’s name, address and phone number so the health department can track the animal.
  • To report a bite, call the Animal Bite Unit (646-364-1799) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays. At night or on weekends, call 212-POISONS (764-7667).
  • For medical monitoring information, call 311 or your healthcare provider.

For more information on rabies in New York Cityvisit

For more information about the oral rabies vaccine, visit the following sites:

  • New York State Department of Health:

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