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Animal Bite Investigations

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Source: Geauga Public Health

The Geauga County Environmental Health District investigates animal bites and human contact in accordance with State law. All animal bites to humans must be reported within 24 hours. Upon receipt of an animal bite report, the animal must undergo a ten day quarantine period, either on the premises of the owner or at a pound or kennel. During the quarantine period, the animal’s overall health is observed, along with confirmation of proper rabies vaccination. The animal cannot be released without proper rabies vaccination. At the conclusion of the quarantine, the animal must be observed by a veterinarian or a Geauga Public Health sanitarian. If the animal appears to have the rabies virus it will be put to sleep and shipped to the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory for rabies analysis. If the animal dies while in quarantine it will also be processed to the Ohio Department of Health. The bite victim will be notified of the results of the quarantine findings and advised on any further action necessary. 

Rabies is a highly infectious and fatal disease spread by a virus. It has appeared in observation of wild animals in the eastern portion of Ohio. 

The vaccination of cats and dogs against the disease of rabies is important because it minimizes the chance of pets transmitting rabies to humans and protects the pet from getting the disease from exposure to wild animals. The Ohio Department of Health suggests several things that you can do to protect your pets from rabies. First, visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs. Second, maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision. Third, spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly. Finally, call animal control to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill. Medical providers should first attempt to consult with their local health department on exposure risk assessments. 

For general inquires, environmental health and health and wellness questions, and vital statistics information, visit http://ophohio.org or call 440-279-1900. Geauga Health District is located at 470 Center St., Building 8, in Chardon (44024).

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