COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio's Department of Health is set to begin oral raccoon-rabies vaccination operations in 14 northeast Ohio counties.

The department says the annual fall baiting operations done in partnership with federal and local agencies will begin on or around Friday, weather permitting. The baiting is intended to immunize raccoons that are at greatest risk of being exposed to raccoon rabies coming into the state by creating an "immune barrier" along the state line that can prevent the disease's spread across the rest of Ohio.

Officials say about 800,000 baits should be distributed by around Sept. 3 over 4,825 square miles (12,497 square kilometers) along the northeast Ohio border.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects people and other mammals. An animal bite is the most common route of exposure.