Rabies is a serious disease that affects the nervous system. Clermont County Public Health receives more than 300 cases of potential rabies contact annually. Rabies can be spread if an infected animal bites you. Even scratches or contact with saliva can spread the virus. If you’re potentially exposed to rabies (through a bite or a scratch), immediately clean the area with soap and water. Then, see a doctor to decide if you need treatment. The virus is delicate and can be killed by sunlight, heat, or detergent.
Report any potential rabies exposure to Clermont County Public Health within 24 hours. They will help locate the animal and start a quarantine. If a healthy dog or cat bites or exposes a person, it will be quarantined for ten days. After the quarantine, a veterinarian will examine the animal. If no signs of rabies are found, it can be declared free from the disease. If the dog or cat doesn’t have a current rabies vaccination, it will receive one during this time. If the animal becomes sick during quarantine, report it to the health authorities and have it checked by a vet. The animal may be humanely euthanized and tested if it shows signs of rabies.
If a stray dog or cat bites someone, it can be euthanized and tested or put in quarantine for ten days. If it stays healthy after the quarantine, it doesn’t need to be tested for rabies.
Bats are considered high risk for rabies. A bat should be euthanized and tested if it bites a person or a pet. If a bat is found near a child, a sleeping person, or someone who is intoxicated or mentally impaired, it’s best to get treatment even if there was no direct contact.
To prevent rabies, get rid of stray dogs and cats, vaccinate your pets, stay away from wild animals, avoid keeping exotic pets, and secure your home to keep bats away from people.
If you have any questions about rabies, contact Clermont County Public Health.