ATTENTION: If you have reached this page after being bitten by any animal, contact the Health Department at 419-774-4520 and ask for Sanitarian who does rabies investigations. You will be advised to seek proper medical attention. (The Public Health Clinic at the Health Department is available for bite victims without a personal physician). The sanitarian will then begin an investigation.
Note: Wound cleansing is especially important in rabies prevention. Gently wash the bite area with water and seek medical attention immediately. Tetanus shots should be administered if you have not been immunized in ten years. Decisions regarding the use of antibiotics, and primary wound closure, should be decided after talking with your physician or health care provider.
BREAKING NEWS, May 17, 2013
The Mahoning County District Board of Health (Youngstown and surrounding area) confirmed a third raccoon positive for rabies. Health officials are advising everyone to remember these tips:
- Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals and be cautious around stray cats and dogs.
- Teach children to leave wildlife alone and be sure your child knows to tell you if an animal bites or sratches them.
- Have your pet cats, dogs, and ferrets vaccinated for rabies and keep their vaccinations current.
- Keep trash can lids secure. Open containers can attrack wildlife.
- Feed pets indoors. Never leave food outdoors that can attrack wildlife.
- Report any bite incidents to your local health department and call your doctor for medical advise.
Health Department Issues Rabies Warning; Free Rabies Clinic May 11
April 16, 2013 — With warmer weather more people will begin outdoor activities and the risk of contact with an animal infected with the rabies virus increases. Incidences of rabies exposure usually start in April and continue rising through the summer months.
The Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department is issuing a reminder for all pet owners to make sure their cats, dogs, and ferrets are vaccinated against rabies. Keeping vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, dogs, and ferrets is important not only to keep your pets from getting rabies, but also to provide a barrier of protection for you if a rabid wild animal bites your pet.
To encourage the immunization of dogs and cats, Drs. Henry and Jody Akers and Dr. Laurie Hickox will be conducting a free rabies immunization clinic, Saturday, May 11. The clinic will be held at the Premier Office Complex, 1456 Park Ave. West, Mansfield, between Noon and 2 p.m. (see flyer on clinic procedures).
“Last year we had a record 620 contacts [inspections, investigations or consultations] concerning rabies,” said Matt Work, Director of Environmental Health at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. “Dogs are the most frequent investigation calls, but we have higher risk factors associated with feral cats and wild animals like bats and skunks.”
Work added that everyone should be cautious around stray dogs and cats as they may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the disease. No one should ever approach a wild animal, especially one that is acting in a strange manner.
“Parents should take particular precautions by teaching their children, even their toddlers, not to approach strange dogs, cats, or other animals,” Work said. “Children are the most frequent victims of animal bites. Wild animals may look cute but don’t take the risk of being exposed to rabies by being bitten or scratched.”
If you or your child becomes a bite victim, treat the wounds with soap and water. Professional medical advice should be sought immediately to evaluate the risk of rabies or other infections. All bites or possible exposure must be reported to the Health Department.
For further information, and information on the free rabies clinic on May 11, contact the Environmental Health Division at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department by calling 419-774-4520.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People get rabies from the bite of an animal with rabies (a rabid animal). Any wild mammal, like raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to people. Because rabies is a fatal disease, the goal of public health is to prevent and control the spread of rabies by conducting rabies investigations for every animal bite in the County. The program also hosts a rabies vaccination clinic to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. The Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Board of Health, with the help of the Rabies Program, enforces all rules and laws for rabies control set forth by the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code.
All animal bites occurring in Richland County are required to be reported to the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. When a bite is reported, a Health Department Sanitarian will advise that the victim seek proper medical attention. The Public Health Clinic located at the Health Department is available for victims with no medical assistance. The Sanitarian will then immediately begin investigating the case for rabies. The first step required by the Ohio Administrative Code is to quarantine the animal involved in a biting incident for a minimum period of 10 days from the day of the bite. The animal must be isolated and enclosed in a restricted area during the quarantine under the owners control or at a pound or kennel. The animal owner is responsible for any costs associated with the quarantine. If the animal becomes ill, dies, is lost or is relocated during the period of quarantine, the animal owner is responsible to notify the Health Department immediately. If symptoms suggestive of illness are present during the quarantine period, the Health Department will require, at your expense, the animal to be submitted for veterinary examination. During the quarantine period, the animal owner must provide documentation which demonstrates active immunization of the animal against rabies. If immunization is not current, the animal shall be properly vaccinated, and documentation to the Health Department, shall be be provided prior to the removal of quarantine. The animal shall not be immunized until released for immunization by the department. Upon confirmation of immunization, the department will lift the quarantine and complete a release notice. Failure to comply with the provisions of Section 3701-3-29, Ohio Administrative Code, is a violation of Section 3709.21, Ohio Revised Code, and will be prosecuted in accordance with Section 3709.99, Ohio Revised Code.
Symptoms of Clinical Rabies in Humans
Pain or numbness at the site of the bite, fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy. In some individuals, early nervous system involvement may be indicated by the presence of apprehension, anxiety, agitation, nervousness, insomnia, or depression. Symptoms rapidly progress, usually in a matter of days, to include paralysis, spasms of the throat, delirium, hallucinations, coma, cardiac arrhythmia, and finally DEATH. In humans it can take as little as 9 days or as long as 1 year for the symptoms of rabies to appear. Most people who get rabies however, develop symptoms within 60 days of being exposed.
How Do I Know If An Animal Is Rabid?
Most people think rabid animals can easily be spotted because they always drool excessively and foam at the mouth. In fact, most animals will display these symptoms only during the latter stages of infection, and sometimes not even then. A better way to identify animals that pose a risk is to recognize unusual or abnormal behavior. Rabid animals, wild or domestic, may stagger, appear restless, be aggressive, change the tone of their barks or growls, or appear to be choking. Wild animals sometimes lose their fear of humans and act friendly. Animals that usually are active at night may become more active during the day. Passive animals sometimes become fierce and aggressive.
Once a year, local veterinarians in cooperation with the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department host a rabies immunization clinic. Richland County residents are encouraged to have their pet dog or cat vaccinated against this deadly disease. Rabies shots are available free of charge or at reduced rates during this special clinic.
Additional information about rabies is also available at the Center for Disease Control website: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/
The CDC also has a new site to teach kids about the dangers of rabies at www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids/
Certain immunizations are required for entrance of children into Kindergarten and 7th Grade. Richland Public Health offers immunizations at 11 different walk-in clinics. See the story in the news section below or click the immunization slideshow picture above.