Animal Bites/Rabies

Report Incidents
All animal bites sustained to people and/or domestic animals in Jefferson County
should be reported to Jefferson County Animal Control by calling (304) 725-8484.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. The virus is found in the saliva of
infected animals and is transmitted primarily through a bite.  However, the virus can also
be transmitted if saliva or brain tissue enters open wounds, eyes, nose, or mouth.
In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks,
and foxes.  However, any mammal can contract rabies. Only mammals can be infected
with and spread rabies; birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians cannot. Here in Jefferson
County, we have various animals test positive for rabies.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive
the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause
disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be prevented by
vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential
exposures before symptoms start.

If you have been bitten, scratched, or exposed to saliva
 Do not panic . . .but do not ignore the bite either. Wash the wound thoroughly
with soap and lots of water.
 It is critically important that you seek medical advice immediately, if you believe
you may have been exposed to rabies.
 If the animal is wild, do not try to pick it up. Try to safely capture or restrain it
without further risk of exposure. Be sure to wear gloves. The animal will need to
be euthanized before it is submitted for testing. For accurate test results, care
must be taken not to damage the animal’s head.
If the animal is domestic, be sure to get the owner’s information.
If the animal is a stray take note of any identifiable coloring or markings before it
runs away.
 If the bite occurred in Jefferson County, report the bite to Jefferson County
Animal Control at (304) 725-8484.
 Bites occurring in other counties should be reported to the County Health
Department where the bite occurred.
 Do not let anyone destroy wild animals at random just because there may be a
rabies case in your area.  Only a few wild animals will be carrying rabies. 

If your pet has had physical contact with a wild animal
 Wear gloves to examine or wash your pet.
 Contact Animal Control at (304) 725-8484 to report the incident.
 If you must kill the attacking animal to stop the attack, be careful not to damage
its head. The brain will be needed to test for rabies.  Contact Animal Control at
the number above so they can retrieve the remains for testing.
If your pet has bitten someone
 Tell the person bitten to seek medical attention immediately.
 Report the bite to Animal Control at (304) 725-8484.
 Do not let your pet stray, and do not give your pet away. It must be available for
quarantine or observation.
 Do not kill your pet or allow it to be killed unless you have been instructed to do
so by the public health authorities.
 Check with your veterinarian to find out if your pet has a current vaccination.

What you can do to help control rabies
 Be a responsible pet owner, protect your pets; keep vaccinations up to date.
 If your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild animal be sure to report it to Jefferson
County Animal Control at (304) 725-8484.
 Report any domestic animals that are acting strangely to Jefferson County
Animal Control at (304) 725-8484.
 It is against the law to own any wild animals. If you see a wild animal acting
strangely, report it to the WV Department of Natural Resources at (304) 822-
3551. Do not go near it yourself.
 Pets should not be allowed to roam. Limit the possibility of exposure by keeping
your animals on your property or on a leash.
 Do not leave garbage or pet food outside, as it may attract wild or stray animals.
 Remember. . . wild animals should not be kept as pets. Enjoy all wild animals
from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame.

For more information contact your local health department or visit the following website:

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