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Location: 2242 Carroll Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 • Hours: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Meet the Staff: Josh Blauvelt, BS, CHHS, Asst. Director; Tom McCue, BS, Env. Health Specialist II; Francis Koch, Env.Technician; Pat De Haven, Secretary; Seasonal Mosquito Technicians
Animal Bites & Rabies
ANIMAL CONTROL AGENCIES
|Allen County Sheriff's Department||260 449-7491|
|Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control||260 427-1244|
|New Haven Police Department||260 493-1517|
Animal Bite Report Form (Should be filled out by health care provider or animal control staff)
RABIES POST-EXPOSURE INFORMATION
If you have questions regarding rabies post-exposure treatment, contact the Department's Medical Annex at 260 449-7920.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Each year over 7,000 animals, most of them wild, are diagnosed with the disease in the United States, except in Hawaii.
People get rabies from the bite of an infected animal (with rabies). Any wild mammal, like a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to people. In the United States, about 18,000 people receive post-exposure treatment each year because of contact with animals suspected of being rabid. Rats, mice, squirrels and other small rodents are not able to transmit the rabies virus.
It is possible, but quite rare, for people to contract rabies from material of a rabid animal. For example, infected saliva could enter the eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound. Scratches are not considered an exposure, unless the animals were observed licking their claws before the scratches occurred.
RABIES SYMPTOMS IN ANIMALS
Although it is not possible to determine if an animal is infected with rabies by simple observation, signs in an animal, which should lead you to suspect that it may be rabid, are:
- Changes in an animal's behavior
- Loss of appetite
- Problem swallowing
- Increase in drool/saliva
- Excessive irritability
- Unusual vocalization
- Wild animals that appear abnormally tame or sick
- Unprovoked aggression
- Difficulty moving or paralysis
If bitten by a domestic or wild animal, it is recommended you do the following:
If exposed, immediately wash the site with soap and water. Squeeze the area to make the wound bleed. Hopefully, this will push out any of the animal's saliva.
Contact the proper animal control agency and your personal doctor or the Department of Health for further advisement.
Receive medical assistance.
HUMAN RABIES SYMPTOMS
- Loss of consciousness
- Hypersalivation (foaming at the mouth)
- Symptoms appear within 5 - 60 days, rarely 1 year after the bite
- Once symptoms appear, death usually follows
RABIES TRANSMISSION (An example)
A rabid raccoon bites a dog.
Rabies virus enters the dog through infected saliva.
Rabies virus spreads through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain.
The virus incubates in the dog's body about 3 - 12 weeks. The dog has no signs of illness during this time.
When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly, passes to the salivary glands, and the dog begins to show signs of disease.
Infected animals usually die within 7 days of becoming sick.
The best method to prevent rabies transmission to you or your family is to vaccinate your pets. Dogs, cats, and ferrets need to be vaccinated for rabies to provide a barrier between you and the infected animal. The following are other prevention methods:
Put identification and rabies tags on your pets. If in Fort Wayne, you must have a permit for the animal.
Keep trash in metal or hard plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
Stay away from stray domestic and wild animals, especially those that are acting strangely.
Walk your dog with a leash. Do not let your dog or cat run loose.
Do not leave pet food outside between meal times.
If a bat is inside your house and there are no known exposures, open windows/doors to let it escape. If there is a known exposure or you do not know, then attempt to capture it with heavy gloves on, a coffee can and a piece of cardboard. If you feel you cannot capture it, then contact the appropriate animal control agency. Do not kill the bat because then it will not be able to be tested for rabies.
Make your house inaccessible to wild animals.
Wild animals should not be kept as pets.
Do not handle sick or injured animals.
BATS AND SLEEPING CHILDREN/ELDERLY
If a bat is found in the same room as a sleeping child or elderly person, assume the bat bit the person. It is difficult to detect a bat bite. If there is a known exposure or you do not know, then attempt to capture it with heavy gloves on, a coffee can and a piece of cardboard. If you feel you cannot capture it, then contact the appropriate animal control agency. Do not kill the bat because then it will not be able to be tested for rabies.
If a wild animal is causing a nuisance around the house, there are three options the homeowner/tenant can do.
The animal can be left alone. It may move on to another area.
Purchase a live-catch trap and place in the area where the animal is established. After capturing the animal, take great care in picking up the trap and releasing the animal at a park or in the woods a few miles away.
Look in the yellow pages under Pest Control and contact a private wildlife control company to remove the animal. There will be a charge for this.
DEAD ANIMAL DISPOSAL
The disposal of dead animals is governed by the Indiana Board of Animal Health.
- Rabies in Humans and Animals in Allen County, Indiana, and United States
- CDC Rabies Information
- CDC Rabies Information (En español)
- ISDH Rabies Information
- Division Rabies Information
- Rabies Brochure
- Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2011
More Articles: General Information • FAQ • Bed Bugs • Built Environment • Childhood Lead Poisoning • Childhood Lead Screening • Children's Environmental Health Protection • Cockroaches • Healthy Homes • Indoor Air Quality • Integrated Pest Management • Lodging Establishments • Meth Labs • Mold • Mosquitoes • Mosquitoes - Biology • Mosquitoes - Diseases • Mosquitoes - Prevention & Control • Pests & Other Vectors • Radon • Rats & Mice - Biology & Diseases • Rats & Mice - Control • Ticks • Unsanitary Conditions • Unwanted Refrigerators & Freezers
Rats attack humans only when cornered. However, they may bite someone who has food residue on their clothing or skin.