What to know about animal bites, rabies virus – Information Today Web

RHINELANDER – Oneida County Health Department is warning residents to be aware of the risk and symptoms of rabies.

Since Jan. 1 this year, OCHD has conducted more than 40 animal bite or potential exposure investigations. OCHD is required under state statute  to prevent and control the spread of the rabies virus. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is typically transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is considered fatal if contracted. So far this year, four bats have tested positive for rabies in Wisconsin. The counties involved are St. Croix, Columbia, Richland and Sauk.

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

Here’s how to stay safe from animal bites:

• Keep your pets current on rabies vaccinations

• Leave the handling of unfamiliar animals to the professionals. Contact Wild Instincts of 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 not to approach unfamiliar animals

• Never leave a young child alone with a pet

Be sure and clean a bite or scratch wound with lots of soap and water, report the bite to law enforcement, contact a doctor or go to the emergency room and if the animal has been, or can be safely captured, hold onto it until OCHD can be consulted.

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