Animal bites are a public health concern due to the potential risk for rabies transmission as well as the injury that can result from a bite. In West Virginia, more than 70% of reported animal bites are from dogs. Children under the age of 14 years are bit more often than other members of the population and children under 5 years of age are more likely to be bitten on the head, face or neck. Local health departments investigate animal bites to determine the risk for exposure to rabies and the need for post-exposure prophylaxis. For animal bites caused by dogs, cats, and ferrets the animal is required by law to be confined for a 10 day period to rule out exposure to rabies. If the animal is not available for confinement or testing for rabies, the bite victim may need to get rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) depending on the circumstance and type of exposure and the type of animal that caused the exposure.
Dog Bite Prevention