(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Rabies prevention efforts will be focused on raccoons over the next few weeks in Erie County.

Throughout western Erie County, the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services is planning to distribute baits with rabies vaccines. The vaccine baits will be dropped from low-flying aircraft into a 16-mile area that includes Albion, Springfield, Lake City, Girard and Fairview, an announcement from the Erie County Department of Health said.

The bait is a colorless liquid in a blister pack with a “sweet smelling, dark green, waxy coating with a black label on the lid.” Leave the baits alone, the department of health said. If they’re found where children or pets tend to frequent, the baits “can be tossed into a fencerow, woodlot, ditch or other raccoon habitat area.” Wear gloves or a plastic bag to handle the baits, and wash your hands after contact.

Damaged baits should be bagged and thrown in the trash.

Rabies cannot be contracted through the vaccine, according to the county department of health. If a pet has eaten the bait, confine them and avoid their saliva for 24 hours. Wash skin or wounds that may have been licked. “Do not risk being bitten by taking the bait away from your pet,” the department said.

For news delivered right to yousubscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists

For more information about accidental contact with baits, call the Pennsylvania Department of Health at (877) 722-6725.