RABIES

 

DOMESTIC ANIMAL BITES:

  If bitten by a dog, cat or ferret and the animal is apprehended, the animal should be quarantined for 10 days after exposure whether it has been immunized or not.

  If the animal shows signs of rabies or it has died, it should then be tested for rabies. No anti-rabies prophylaxis is needed pending test results.

  If the test results are positive, the rabies prophylaxis should then be administered.

  If the test results are negative, no rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

 

WILD ANIMAL BITES:

 

  If bitten by a wild animal such as a skunk, raccoon, fox or bat, the animal should be apprehended, if possible, for testing.

  If apprehended and test results are positive, rabies prophylaxis should be administered.

  If test results are negative, no rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

  If animal is not apprehended the rabies prophylaxis should be administered.

 

RODENT BITES:

 

  If bitten by a rodent including squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice, rabbit or opossum, no action is necessary. There has not been a conclusive diagnosis of rabies in these species in over 35 years in Iowa.

  If there are unusual circumstances concerning a bite from such a species, you may contact the Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology at 800-362-2736 for consultation.

 

BAT BITES:

 

  If bitten by a bat, the bat should be captured, if possible, for testing. Prophylactic treatment may be delayed for 72 hours after exposure while waiting for the bat to be tested.

  If a person was in the same room as a bat and cannot say that they definitely were not bitten, the bat should be captured, if possible, for testing.

  If an unobserved child, incapacitated, or sleeping person was in the same room as a bat, the bat should be captured, if possible, for testing.

  If test results are positive or unsatisfactory, full post exposure prophylaxis should be administered.

  If test results are negative, no prophylaxis is necessary.

  If it is not possible to capture the bat, full post exposure prophylaxis should be administered.

 

 

Bats pose particular risks and are capable of transmission in the absence of a bite. Therefore, every effort should be made to capture and test the bat involved in an exposure incident. If the patient can provide adequate history that, while conscious, no direct exposure occurred, then no treatment is necessary. If the patient is an unobserved child, or was asleep, intoxicated, or mentally challenged, then post-exposure rabies prophylaxis may be indicated, especially if the status of the bat cannot be determined with lab testing.

 

If you are ever unsure about exposure to rabies, do call your local veterinarian or the Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology at the number printed above.