Animal And Mosquito Bites
Animal Bites (Rabies)
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. People get rabies from the bite of an infected, or rabid, animal. Wild mammals like raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, or bats can have and transmit rabies. Domestic animals like dogs, cats, horses, and cattle also can transmit rabies to humans. However, domestic animals account for fewer than 10 percent of all reported rabies cases in animals. It is possible, but extremely rare, to get rabies from exposure to infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, to the eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound.
If you are bitten by a wild or domestic animal
If you have been bitten, scratched, or exposed to an animal’s saliva:
Wash the wound right away with soap and water for at least 10 minutes.
Call your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room, depending on the severity of the wound.
Provide a description of the animal and, if possible, confine the animal so it can be quarantined or tested.
Who to contact when a bite occurs
Report all animal bites and other injuries to humans caused by animals to your local health department. In some areas, your animal control personnel will be involved in the investigation of the incident, including efforts to find the animal. The local health department environmentalist may recommend a 10-day quarantine for dogs, cats, or ferrets, but for wild animals, immediate rabies testing will be necessary. Any physician or other attending medical service provider who treats or consults on an animal bite or scratch incident is required to make a report to the Bourbon County Health Department within 12 hours. Call 859-987-1915 or 985-987-2323.
If a pet (dog, cat, or ferret) is bitten by a wild animal
Wear gloves to handle your pet, so you do not become exposed to the attacking animal’s saliva. Confine your pet or otherwise make sure it does not run away.
Call your veterinarian and local animal control.
Any animal bitten by either a bat or wild mammal (in Kentucky usually skunks, foxes or raccoons) that is not available for rabies testing should be regarded as having been exposed to rabies.
It is important to vaccinate your pets. Unvaccinated dogs, cats, or ferrets exposed to a rabid animal should be euthanized immediately.
If the owner is unwilling to do this, the animal must be placed in strict isolation for six months and vaccinated one month before being released. Dogs, cats, and ferrets with current rabies vaccinations given by a licensed veterinarian should be revaccinated immediately and kept under observation for 45 days. Animals with expired vaccinations need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Vaccination of all dogs, cats, and ferrets on the premises protects them from the risk of rabies.
Bats and rabies
Rabies from bats is the most common source of human infection in the United States. However, bats are unique mammals that are vital to the ecosystems of the world.
Understanding bat habits and behavior can help humans live safely with them.
Signs of a potentially rabid bats include: daylight activity (bats are nocturnal and usually active only after sunset), difficulty flying, or being found in unusual places. Do not handle any wild bat with your bare hands. Bats have small teeth and, while rare, it is possible to be bitten by a bat and not know it.
Because some bat bites are so tiny they are difficult to see, any time a bat is found in the room of a sleeping person, in the room with an unattended child, or near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested for rabies.
To safely capture a bat, wear heavy leather gloves and place a small box or coffee can over the bat. Slide a piece of cardboard under the box and tape it securely. Contact your local health department to make arrangements for testing.
Handling of animals for rabies testing
Rabies testing requires fresh, undamaged brain tissue to provide reliable results. It is best to have the animal in question medically euthanized, so the head and brain are not damaged. Contact your veterinarian or local animal control personnel for information. Your local health department has proper containers and instructions for submitting an animal specimen for rabies testing.
Human rabies vaccination and prophylaxis
Current post-exposure prophylaxis is nearly 100 percent successful in preventing rabies in humans. Most fatalities from rabies occur when people fail to seek prompt medical assistance or are unaware of the exposure, as with some of the cases associated with bat rabies.
Pre-exposure vaccination is available for people at high risk for a rabies exposure such as veterinarians, laboratory personnel and animal control personnel. Post-exposure prophylaxis is available to people who have been exposed to an animal that tested positive to rabies.
Post-exposure prophylaxis is also available for people with a possible exposure to rabies virus, but the animal was not available for testing.
Many countries have a much higher risk of rabies exposure than the United States. If you are traveling to a foreign country, consult your local health department about vaccination recommendations.
Rabies vaccination for your animals
Approved rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep and ferrets. Animal rabies vaccines should be administered only by, or under the direct supervision of, a licensed veterinarian. Proper and up-to-date vaccination of your pets is your first line of defense against rabies.
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites
Use Insect Repellent
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellentsexternal icon with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
Find the right insect repellent for you by using EPA’s search toolexternal icon.
Tips for babies and children
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- When using insect repellent on your child:
- Always follow label instructions.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
- Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
- Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Tips for Everyone
- Always follow the product label instructions.
- Reapply insect repellent as directed.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
Natural insect repellents (repellents not registered with EPA)
- We do not know the effectiveness of non-EPA registered insect repellents, including some natural repellents.
- To protect yourself against diseases spread by mosquitoes, CDC and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness.
- Visit the EPA website to learn more.external icon
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Treat clothing and gear
- Use permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes.
- Permethrin-treated clothing provides protection after multiple washings.
- Read product information to find out how long the protection will last.
If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
- Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors
- Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
- Use air conditioning, if available.
- Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
- Check indoors and outdoors.
Prevent mosquito bites when traveling overseas
- Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows and doors.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that does not have screens.
- Buy a bed net at your local outdoor store or online before traveling overseas.
- Choose a WHOPES-approved bed net: compact, white, rectangular, with 156 holes per square inch, and long enough to tuck under the mattress.
- Permethrin-treated bed nets provide more protection than untreated nets.
- Do not wash bed nets or expose them to sunlight. This will break down the insecticide more quickly.
- For more information on bed nets, visit CDC’s page on insecticide-treated bed nets.
- For more information on traveling overseas, visit Travelers’ Health.