Animal Bites

All animal bites to humans are investigated by the health department and are considered a reportable disease due to the potential transmission of rabies, which is fatal. Animal bites are considered a serious public health threat and a medical urgency in order to determine the risk of acquiring rabies. Although rare, once a human contracts rabies, it is fatal.

Contact us to report an animal bite and to inquire about the procedure for rabies testing in animals, rabies post-exposure vaccination, and risk assessment of a bite.

Tips for Preventing Rabies Transmission

  1. Ensure dogs, cats and ferrets are up to date on vaccinations
  2. Keep pets under control - do not allow to run loose
  3. Avoid contact with wild or stray animals
  4. Do not keep wild animals as pets
  5. Protection must be used when handling pets directly after a confrontation with wildlife due to the potential for carrying residual saliva on the fur or skin from an infected animal.
Saliva is the primary mode of transmission for rabies from an infected animal. It is important to wash the area of a bite thoroughly with soap and water for 10 - 15 minutes followed by application of povidine-iodine solution. Seek medical attention immediately. Identify and confine the biting dog, cat or ferret for evaluation and quarantine by a licensed veterinarian, or submit the head of a wild animal to a veterinarian for examination.

For more information on rabies, visit the following websites:

Dr Howard Pue, Missouri Public Health Veterinarian, speaking on Rabies at Ste Genevieve County Health Department

Dr. Pue 2