RABIES SURVEILLANCE

According to Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28, “Whenever a person is bitten by a dog or other mammal, report of such bite shall be made within 24 hours to the health commissioner of the district in which the bite occurred.” If you have been bitten by an animal or know someone who has, please report this immediately to the Jackson County Health Department. You can find a printable reporting form at the bottom of this page. 

 

What We Do: The Jackson County Health Department is required to quarantine all dogs, cats and ferrets that bite people. The quarantine is for 10 days and is most typically done at the animal owner’s home. The health department works very closely with the Jackson County Dog Warden during canine quarantines. The purpose of the quarantine is to ensure that the biting animal does not have rabies. If the biting animal has rabies at the time of the bite, the symptoms of rabies will be seen in that dog, cat or ferret within 10 days following the bite.

What to do if you are bitten or scratched by an animal?  Thoroughly clean the wound area with soap and water and cover with a clean dressing or bandage;
Immediately seek medical care with your family doctor, urgent care or emergency room. Many bites are puncture wounds that can easily become infected if not cared for properly.


Try to obtain information about the animal’s owner including name, address and telephone number, and information about the biting animal such as the type of animal, color, breed, name and rabies tag. If you see your healthcare provider for an animal bite or other exposure event, please ask for a report to be filed with the Jackson County Health Department. Individuals may self-report a bite or exposure without seeing a provider - please drop off the completed reporting form to the health department, or fax the report to 740-286-8809 Attn. Rabies Control Program.

 

Rabies

What is rabies? Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus travels through the central nervous system to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, the disease nearly always causes death. This is a disease that is preventable in several ways; keeping our pets currently vaccinated against rabies and avoiding encounters with wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes. If bitten by an animal seek immediate medical attention and rabies treatment.

How is rabies spread?  Rabies is spread or transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal to another animal or human. Usually, this happens through a bite that breaks the skin or contact with saliva into an open scratch or wound. On very rare occasions, it is has been documented that it can be spread if someone’s eyes, nose or mouth comes in contact with saliva of a rabid animal.

What animals can have rabies?  In Ohio, the most common animals to have rabies are bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Bats present a higher risk of exposure in Jackson County, compared to any other animal that may carry rabies. Exposures to a bat can occur in many different ways, including bites and scratches. If you are exposed to an animal that you believe may have rabies, especially a bat, immediately contact the Jackson County Health Department to determine if you need post exposure treatment for Rabies. DO NOT DESTROY THE HEAD OF THE ANIMAL IF YOU WANT TO TEST FOR RABIES. In event that your dog or cat may be bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat, contact your local veterinarian and the health district to determine the next steps to ensure your pet receives post exposure treatment if determined necessary by your vet and health district staff.

 

For more information on animal bites, exposure to rabies, and bat encounters and determining rabies risk, contact us at 740-286-5094.

 

Important:
If you feel you have been exposed to a bat, please seek immediate medical attention at a local emergency room or urgent care and explain to them that you may have been exposed to a bat.


If the bat is seen and be captured, please do not damage the head of the bat. Contact our office to see how you can have the bat tested for Rabies if the bat can be captured.  We recommend to prevent contact with any dead bat or live bats in your house, you should contact a wildlife specialist to have the bat removed from your home to limit exposure.


Do not take a captured bat into the urgent care or emergency room; they do not test bats for rabies. Please call the health department at to arrange for the animal to best tested.