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Man exposed to rabies by raccoon

A 42-year-old man who lives north of Brooksville was exposed to rabies when he broke up a fight between his two dogs and a rabid raccoon.

Saliva from the raccoon touched a cut on Paul Behm's hand during the fight on his Lazy Lane property.

The dead raccoon tested positive for rabies Thursday following tests by the Hernando County Health Department. Behm was advised to seek postexposure vaccination for rabies.

One dog was vaccinated for rabies and will undergo a 45-day quarantine period. The other dog had not received a vaccination and will be quarantined for 180 days or euthanized.

This is the sixth reported case of animal rabies in Hernando County this year.

In October, a man was exposed to rabies by a raccoon on Cyrano Avenue; in May, a rabid fox exposed a dog on Old Crystal River Road; in March, a rabid raccoon exposed a dog on Stapleton Road; in February, two raccoons were found to be rabid in Ridge Manor.

Last year, three cases of animal rabies were reported in the county, according to the health department.

The current case falls within an existing rabies alert area, which was declared on April 7, 1999, and is bounded by the county lines with Citrus, Pasco and Sumter counties and on the west by U.S. 41 and U.S. 98.