Suffolk's anti-rabies program gnaws at residents

The Suffolk County Department of Health stepped up its efforts against the spread of rabies, and upset residents in the process. Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, commissioner of the Suffolk Health Department, said

News 12 Staff

Sep 12, 2007, 9:43 PM

Updated 6,153 days ago

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The Suffolk County Department of Health stepped up its efforts against the spread of rabies, and upset residents in the process.
Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, commissioner of the Suffolk Health Department, said the agency has distributed 120,000 raccoon bait packets to target wooded areas throughout the county. The bait packets have been delivered by helicopter and trucks, he said.
"We have increased our efforts," Chaudhry said. "We have more baits out than ever before."
Joe Martinez, of Centereach, said his 3-year-old twins were playing in the backyard when a raccoon bait packet was tossed there.
"You know they tell everybody when they're spraying for West Nile virus," Martinez said, claiming the county never informed residents about the rabies program.
"The thing that got me annoyed was if one of my kids eats these things, I'm going to drive to Stony Brook at 100 miles an hour [and] they're going to do all sorts of tests just to tell me it's something the county threw over the fence," Martinez said.
Meanwhile, Chaudhry maintained the department did notify the public. Additionally, he said, the packets are "completely safe, they're not toxic to humans."
According to Chaudhry, Suffolk officials have trapped a record 15 rabid raccoons so far this year.
Related Information: Suffolk County Rabies Baiting Program Suffolk Health Dept. Rabid Raccoon Baiting Program - 631-853-8405 If you sight a rabid or suspicious raccoon call 631-852-COPS


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