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Rabies Animal Bites

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What should you do if an animal bites you?

Rabies is a viral disease that affects warm-blooded animals such as dogs, cats, skunks, bats, etc. The virus is spread when saliva containing rabies virus gets into an opening in the skin, usually by the bite of a rabid animal. You can also get rabies if the saliva from a rabid animal gets into your mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth) or any open wounds.

Bite Prevention

The Public Health Laboratory of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) performs rabies tests on animals. They test wildlife that have bitten or exposed a person or domestic animal. They also test pets that have bitten or exposed a person, or get sick with signs of rabies or die during a 10-day confinement after biting a person. The laboratory will test agricultural animals that show signs of brain disease or have potentially exposed a person. The laboratory discourages testing small rodents such as mice, rats, hamsters, etc., as they have never been known to transmit rabies to people and are not considered a risk for rabies exposure. There is no test for a live animal; the animal must be dead before the test can be done.

For help with assessing the risk of rabies from an animal bite, the Arkansas Department of Health is always available. During normal business hours call the State Public Health Veterinarian at (501) 661-2381. After normal business hours call (800) 633-1735.

Animal Bite Investigation Form
What Should I Do If An Animal Bites Me?
What to Expect With Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (Rabies Shots)
Hospitals Known to Have Administered Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (map)

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867