Rabies is Still a Threat

Clermont County Public Health wants to remind everyone that rabies in wildlife continues to pose a risk to pets and people. Rabies is almost 100 percent fatal once a person or animal begins to show symptoms. Worldwide, 50,000 – 60,000 people die each year of rabies.  Protecting pets by keeping them current on their rabies vaccine is an important buffer between wildlife rabies and human exposure. Indoor animals should also be vaccinated as rabid bats are sometimes discovered by pets in the home.

Over the past two decades, the Ohio Department of Health laboratories has confirmed two dogs and nine cats with rabies. The most recent dog report occurred on October 13, 2011, when it was confirmed that a Siberian husky from Twinsburg, Ohio in Summit County was infected with rabies. The dog has since died. Its rabies vaccination had been expired for about 1 year.

“Although this is only the second confirmed dog case in Ohio since 1997, the risk of household pets coming into contact with wild animals is ever present,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Kathleen Smith, who oversees the ODH Zoonotic Disease Program. “We highly recommend that all domestic pets be kept up to date on vaccinations.”

In 2015, the 24 animals were confirmed to be rabid in Ohio (all cases were from bats or raccoons). ODH continues to work with local health districts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services to contain raccoon rabies and prevent further spread.

In addition to vaccinating your pets for rabies, there are several things Ohioans can do to protect themselves and their pets.


It is important to remember that cats, as well as dogs, should be vaccinated for rabies. According to the latest published data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cats continue to be the number one domestic animal confirmed with rabies: 300 cats confirmed in 2009 compared to 81 dogs.

For more information on Rabies control in Clermont County click here.