Little rabies vaccine packets are meant to keep us and our pets safe

The bait poses no serious risk to pets, but if you see one, leave it alone

Animal Control officers have been out in force across South Florida, making sure the public is protected from a potentially deadly disease.

MIAMI – In the midst of the coronavirus, Miami-Dade Animal Control officers are making sure the public is protected from rabies, another potentially deadly viral disease.

“We have to make sure people and their pets are protected,” said Leo Romero, Shelter Program Manager.

In the overgrowth along a Miami Springs canal, the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department tosses small but powerful packets of protection. Inside each one, a dose of rabies vaccine intended for wild animals that may carry the virus.

“A few years ago, we had an outbreak in the community so we started as a proactive program to vaccinate as many wild animals as possible so that doesn’t happen again and expand into a bigger crisis,” Romero said.

The heavy plastic packets are coated with fish oil to attract wild animals and inside is a small capsule of rabies vaccine.

Officials in Miami-Dade distribute small but powerful packets of rabies vaccine intended for potentially infected wild animals. (WPLG)

The bait poses no risk to domestic animals but if you see one, leave it alone.

“So if you are walking with your dog and you come across one of these things if somehow they should get into it it might cause an upset stomach or a little diarrhea but it won’t harm the animal in any serious manner,” Romero said.

Controlling the spread of rabies in wildlife is vital to protecting people from a dangerous disease.

The first symptoms can appear anywhere from a few days to more than a year after the bite happens and start with symptoms that seem like the flu, pro growers sing to neurological problems including irritability, aggressiveness, agitation, confusion, muscle spasms, seizures and paralysis.

“If a human gets contracted with rabies if it’s not caught early, there’s a 99 percent chance that it will lead to death,” said Romero.

Miami-Dade County began this program after data showed it had 10% of all rabies cases in the State of Florida.

No new cases have been reported and Broward County has no reported cases, which officials say is proof the program is working,

About the Authors:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.