Animal Bite Follow-up

What To Report

  • Significant Human Exposure – Any bite, scratch or other situation in which saliva or central nervous system tissue of a potentially rabid animal may have entered an open wound or fresh wound (having bled in the last 24 hours), or comes in contact with the mucus membrane by contacting the eye, nose or mouth.
  • Report immediately, by phone, to 814-451-6711, exposures to stray or wild animals. In other encounters, fill out an Animal Encounter Report Form and fax it to the Erie County Department of Health at 814-451-6767.
  • No need to report exposures to squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, chipmunks, rats, mice, other rodents (except groundhogs), rabbits, and hares, unless they exhibit unusual behavior that makes them suspect.

Treatment

  • When an exposure occurs from a high-risk animal, it is important to start treatment within 48 hours (12 hours if head or neck exposure).
  • Human Rabies Prevention guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are detailed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s May 23, 2008, MMWR Report.
  • Reduced vaccine schedule guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices are detailed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s March 19, 2010, MMWR Report.

High Risk Wild Animals

  • Raccoons, foxes, skunks, wolves, bats, groundhogs, bobcats, coyotes and other carnivores must be considered rabid unless proven negative by laboratory testing.
  • These animals should be captured, if possible, and killed in a manner that does not damage the brain.
  • Assistance with processing specimens for the state lab must be coordinated through the Erie County Department of Health. The department is on call at all times for report and consultation.

Victim’s Responsibilities

  • The victim is responsible for assisting the Erie County Department of Health in obtaining information on the owner of the domestic dog, cat or ferret.
  • With stray dogs or cats, it is the victim’s responsibility to locate the animal so that it  can be sheltered for the 10-day quarantine period.  The victim may contact the Erie County Department of Health for guidance on the sheltering process.
  • If the animal escapes or is unable to be located, rabies vaccine should be started immediately.

Pet Owner’s Responsibilities

  • The owner is responsible for providing a 10-day quarantine from the day of exposure.
  • “Quarantine” means that the animal must be observed for changes in health and/or behavior and confined indoors, so further exposure to people is restricted.
  • The owner is required by law to cooperate with Erie County Department of Health recommendations and may be subject to penalties for failure to cooperate.

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