Zoonotic Disease Program
People are exposed to rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal, or less commonly, when saliva from an infected animal gets into an open wound or onto a mucous membrane. Any bite wound should be thoroughly washed with soap and water as soon as possible. Animal bite victims should consult with their doctor and promptly report the incident to the local health department. Rabies is almost always fatal once clinical symptoms appear. To confirm the victim’s risk of being exposed to rabies, a decision must be made to either test or quarantine the biting animal, or to treat the victim. Treatment must be initiated soon after the exposure to be effective. Ohio’s local health departments investigate more than 21,000 animal bite incidents annually. Because of health department activities and medical treatment, human rabies is rare in the United States. Ohio’s last human rabies case was in 1970.
The Ohio Department of Health Rabies Program conducts rabies prevention activities to protect Ohio residents from the spread of wildlife rabies to people, pets and other animals. Bat, raccoon, skunk, other wild animal and domestic animal rabies cases are reviewed to determine any necessary control initiatives. The Rabies Program works to do the following:
- Assist local health departments with rabies prevention programs and coordinate rabies control activities among local, state and federal agencies.
- Develop educational materials for the public.
- Provide consultation for public health workers, veterinarians, the medical community, and others who work with animals, and deal with animal bites and rabies exposures.
- Collect and maintain data on rabies and animal bites in Ohio.
2011 Animal Rabies Report
Last Updated: 06/12/2013
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