OCHD provides information on animal bites, rabies

For the Tomahawk Leader

ONEIDA COUNTY – The Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) this week provided information on animal bites and rabies.

In a release, OCHD said it has conducted more than 40 animal bite and potential rabies exposure investigations this year.

“Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is typically transmitted through a bite from an infected animal,” OCHD stated. “Rabies is considered fatal if contracted.”

Four bats have tested for rabies in Wisconsin this year. The counties involved are Columbia, Richland, Sauk and St. Croix.

Symptoms of rabies include irritability, headache, fever, double vision and itching or pain at the bite site. Later symptoms include spasms of the throat, convulsions, delirium, paralysis and death.

OCHD provided the following tips to help stay safe from animal bites:

  • Keep your pets current on rabies vaccinations.
  • Leave the handling of unfamiliar animals to professionals.
  • Contact Wild Instincts or Northwoods Wildlife Center for wild animals that may need help.
  • Contact the Oneida County Humane Society for domestic pets that may need help.
  • Teach children to not approach unfamiliar animals.
  • Never leave a young child alone with a pet .

For bites and scratches:

  • Clean the wound with lots of soap and water.
  • Report the bite to law enforcement.
  • Contact your doctor or go to your local emergency room.
  • If the animal has been or can be safely captured, hold onto the animal until OCHD can be consulted.

For more information, visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/rabies/index.htm or www.datcp.wi.gov/Documents/RabiesBites.pdf.

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