Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
One of the best way to protect your family from rabies is to vaccinate your pets. Community rabies vaccination clinics are held each May in Union County at a variety of locations. These clinics offer low-cost, one-year rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs 4 months of age and older. The clinics are made possible through a partnership between the Union County Health Department, the Union County Humane Society, and local Union County veterinarians who generously donate their time.
Reporting Animal Bites
In the State of Ohio, all animal bites shall be reported within 24 hours to the local health department. If a victim seeks medical attention, these bites will be automatically reported to the appropriate authorities.
Once the bite has occurred, the victim, animal owner, medical officer, or another responsible party should fill out a bite report form. All information should be filled in. If some information is unknown, be sure contact information for all parties involved is included. The health department will try to fill in the missing information.
Letters will be sent to the animal owner informing them of the next requirements. The animal owner will be required to place their animal under a 10-day (minimum) quarantine. They will also need to show proof of a current rabies vaccination.
QUARANTINE - the animal must be restrained at all times it is not in the home. Socialization outside immediate family members is not permissible. Animal should be housed separately from other household pets.
RABIES VACCINATION - If the animal is not current on its shots, a rabies vaccination will be required AFTER the 10-day quarantine period. Do not administer the vaccination during the quarantine period. The rabies vaccination must be administered by a licensed veterinarian. If the dog is current on its vaccination prior to the bite incident, proof of the vaccination will be required. Acceptable means of proof are this form filled out by a veterinarian, copy of certificate of vaccination, or a copy of the animal's record from their veterinarian.
FOLLOW UP VISIT - Once the 10-day quarantine period has passed the animal must be seen by either a health department employee or a veterinarian. If the vaccination is current, the vet form is filled out after the 10-day period and the dog was actually taken to the vet's office, then the signature on the form signifies the animal is healthy and the animal is released from quarantine. If the dog is not seen by a vet, please call (937) 642-2053 to set up an appointment for a Union County Health Department (UCHD) employee to visit the dog. The employee will come to you and it only takes a few minutes. Any paperwork that may be required (such as proof of vaccination) can be turned in during this visit.
Once proof of vaccination is shown, the animal is viewed, and the quarantine period has passed, the animal is free to resume its normal routine. Failure to follow the procedures can result in prosecution.
Any animal that dies within the 10-day quarantine period, whether naturally or intentionally shall have its head submitted to the Ohio Department of Health laboratories. The UCHD shall transport the head. The removal of the head is the owner's responsibility. UCHD can provide information if this service is needed.
Rabies Prevention & Protection Regulations for Union County, Ohio
The Union County Board of Health, at their October 13, 1993 meeting, adopted a Rabies Prevention & Protection Regulation for Union County, Ohio. As part of the regulation, any person who owns, keeps, or harbors a dog or ferret in Union County shall have that animal currently immunized against rabies. Any person who owns a cat in Union County shall have that animal under control. In the event of a rabies outbreak the Health Department may order the humane destruction of any unvaccinated dog, cat or ferret, and may immediately require the mandatory vaccination of all owned and harbored cats.
Ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter. Avoid these areas if possible. When avoidance is not possible, the following tips can help:
• Use insect repellent with 20% - 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. Permethrin is another type of repellent. It can be purchased at outdoor equipment stores that carry camping or hunting gear. Permethrin kills ticks on contact! One application to pants, socks, and shoes typically stays effective through several washings. Permethrin should not be applied directly to skin.
• Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing. If you'll be outside for an extended period of time, tape the area where your pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes.
• Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors. To kill ticks that you may have missed, wash your clothes with hot water and dry them using high heat for at least one hour.
• Perform daily tick checks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all parts of your body carefully including your armpits, scalp, and groin.
If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting a disease is extremely small. But just to be safe, monitor your health closely after a tick bite and be alert for any signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness.
Diseases associated with ticks in Central Ohio include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (American dog tick and brown dog tick), tularemia (American dog tick) and more recently, Lyme Disease (black legged tick)
Removal of tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.
The Union County Health Department does limited surveillance of the mosquito population in Unoin County through trapping and testing. Mosquito traps are placed within the county during the summer months. The trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Ohio Department of Health for testing of West Nile Virus. (There is no longer any testing or surveillance of West Nile Virus amongst birds within Ohio.) The species of mosquito known to carry West Nile Virus tends to be found in open grassy areas. Residents who have large open grassy areas can request mosquito trapping by calling (937) 642-2053 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a disease carried by mosquitoes than can be passed to humans when the female mosquito bites a human. For more information, read this factsheet about WNV. or visit the Ohio Department of Health's webpage.
LaCrosse Encephalitis is a vector-borne disease that is carried by the tree hole mosquito and is also transmitted through the female mosquito's bite.
There are several steps that you can take to prevent bites from mosquitoes.
- Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light colors, long sleeves, and long pants when spending time outside in mosquito-infested areas.
- Use a DEET based repellent when outside where mosquitoes are present (pay attention to usage instructions)
- When camping or spending time outdoors, consider Permethrin treated bed-nets, tents, or clothing.
- Avoid perfume, colognes, or other heavy scents that may attract mosquitoes.
Reduce breeding habitat:
- Anything that holds water longer than 7 days, such as bird baths, baby pools, and buckets, should be changed weekly or stored upside down. Pools should be chlorinated or drained.
- Fill any low areas in the yard. Provide proper drainage.
- Make sure gutters are clear and drain properly.
- Do not store rimless tires where they can hold water. Make sure tire swings have holes drilled to allow water to drain.
- Fill cavities in trees with soil, sand, or gravel.
West Nile Virus activiity and other mosquito-bourne diseases can be tracked through USGS Disease maps.
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) have been around since the 17th century. After World War II the widespread use of synthetic insecticides, such as DDT, greatly reduced their numbers. The use of baits rather than insecticide sprays is a factor that has been implicated in their return. International travel and commerce have also facilitated their return. Bed bugs are frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover. Such infestations usually are not a reflection of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping.
Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long. The adults have small, nonfunctional wing pads. They are fast moving, nocturnal blood feeders. While the bite is painless, the salivary fluid injected typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed. Rows of three or so welts on exposed skin are characteristic signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease.
PREVENTION: There are several steps that can be taken to help prevent a bed bugs infestation.
- Carefully inspect your hotel room. Look in the mattress seams for signs of red spots. This is a sign that the room has, or had, a bed bug population.
- After you return from a trip, check your luggage for insects that might have hitched a ride.
- Inspect antiques and secondhand furniture thoroughly before bringing them into your home.
- Change bed linens at least once a week, and wash in hot water of at least 120 F.
- Vacuum around the home at least once a week, paying special attention to areas surrounding bed and furniture posts.
- Caulk holes in floors and walls.
- Eliminate any neighboring bird and bat habitats that may serve as a refuge for bedbugs, especially following an extermination attempt.
INSPECTION: A thorough inspection may be needed to determine if you have a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are extremely flat and small. They have been found along picture frames, between the glass and frame itself.
- Beds: Dismantle the bed and inspect linens, blankets, mattress, box springs and headboards.
- Dressers and furniture with drawers: Pay attention to cracks, crevices, imperfections, joints, screws and corners. This requires full removal of the drawers.
- Upholstered furniture: Pay attention to zippers, skirting, fabric seams and crevices under cushions.
- Electronics: Inspect all holes, corners, cracks and edges.
- Other items that should be inspected include drapes, pictures, stuffed animals and toys.
CONTROL: If you do have a bed bug problem the following steps may help:
- Employ the regular services of a professional exterminator.
- Dismantle and either treat or discard any old furniture, including bed frames and mattresses. However, professional inspection and extermination may be best.
- Steam cleaning is effective at controlling all stages of bed bugs. Use a commercial unit on carpets, curtains, upholstery and in crevices.
- Wash clothes and other washables in as high of temperature as possible but limited to fabric rating. Dry all items, even those that aren't washable, in a dryer at the hottest setting for at least 30 minutes.
- Freeze infested articles, like stuffed animals, at a minimum of 23 F for 5 days.
- Steam cleaning is not always recommended for mattress because if it is not properly dried, the high moisture levels within the mattress by contribute to mold and mildew. Seek the advice of a professional.
- Approximately 2 weeks post clean-up, another inspection is required to confirm that all bed bugs were eliminated. The inspection should be as thorough as the preliminary inspection.
The Union County Health Department can identify a bed bug if you believe you have an infestation. Bring the bug in a sealed container to the health department for identification anytime, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 4pm.
Additional information is available in this this brochure.
For traveling tips, download Bedbug Travel Tips.