Hernando County Animal Services, in conjunction with other county departments and state agencies, began distributing oral rabies vaccination baits throughout Hernando County on Tuesday.
The fishmeal-flavored bait attracts raccoons, which are the primary transmitters of rabies in Florida. The goal is to lower the incidence of rabies in the county, which has been under a rabies alert since May 2005.
Approximately 64,800 baits will be distributed across 585 miles in southern and western parts of the county. The distribution will take about two or three weeks.
Residents are asked to leave baits alone and keep pets confined as much as possible during the baiting period. While the vaccine has been shown to be safe in more than 60 different species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats, dogs that consume large numbers of baits may experience an upset stomach. Should residents come in contact with a bait should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water.
For information, call Hernando County Animal Services at 796-5062 or the hotline toll-free at 1-888-487-3297.