Rabies (Animal Bite) Program

Rabies is a preventable disease that if contracted and left untreated is nearly 100% fatal.  The last human case of rabies in Ohio was in the 1970’s.  Since 2003 Williams County has had 3 bats that were positive for rabies.  People are exposed to rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal.  A person’s open wound or any mucous membrane coming into contact with the saliva of an infected animal is another way people can be exposed to the rabies virus.

Anyone who is bitten by an animal should thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water as soon as possible.  Animal bite victims should contact their family physician or seek treatment at the hospital.  The doctor or hospital will then report the bite to the Environmental Public Health Division for follow-up.

Species more likely to carry rabies include: bats, raccoons, skunks, fox, and coyotes.  If you or your pet is exposed to any of these animals, the biting animal should be tested for rabies if possible.  This will require examining the brain tissue of the animal for the rabies virus.  Contacting the Environmental Public Health Division as soon as possible is very important to assure the brain tissues can be tested (not allowing it to decompose or be damaged from trauma).

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