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P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778


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Lake County to participate in rabies-vaccine program

RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2007

TAVARES — Beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 14, Lake County will join several other adjoining counties in an effort to establish a rabies-free zone along the Interstate 4 corridor.

The goal of the Fifth Annual Oral Rabies Vaccine Drop Program is to control the spread of rabies in raccoons by creating a no-rabies swath across the state. Participant counties in this year’s program include Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Pasco, Polk and Sumter. The baits will be distributed from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and trucks. It is estimated the program will be completed in two to three weeks.

The bait will come in two forms. The traditional version is a matchbook-size fish meal block containing a liquid oral rabies vaccine inside. A new type of bait, which will be distributed by the fixed-wing aircraft, is a small sachet similar in size to a ketchup condiment packet that will have an attractant applied to its exterior to encourage raccoons to bite into the vaccine.

Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid the baits in case the envelope containing the virus has been punctured. The public is advised against handling the baits, but if absolutely necessary, wear rubber gloves or use paper towels. If direct skin contact with the vaccine is made, wash hands and affected areas with soap and water, and rinse well. If consumed by other pets or livestock, the bait is not harmful, but it is not an acceptable replacement for regular pet rabies vaccinations.

The program, operated by the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commission, involves distributing about 700,000 bait packs containing oral rabies vaccine over approximately 2,957 square miles in the six counties. The purpose of this program is to reduce the incidence of rabies along the highly populated Interstate 4 corridor.

For more information, residents can call the toll-free hotline at 1-866-487-3297 or the Lake County Department of Public Safety, Animal Services Division, at (352) 343-9688.

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Lake County media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Coordinator
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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