Animal Bites 2002

Animal bites to humans are reportable in order to assess the transmission risk of rabies virus from animals to humans and to assess the need for rabies postexposure prophylaxis. This risk assessment can be accomplished by several methods. The most frequently used method is observation of the offending animals for 10 days (dogs, cats, and ferrets). When observing the animal is not appropriate, laboratory testing of the animal’s brain serves as an alternative assessment method.

While the incidence of rabies disease in Indiana’s domestic animals is low, animal bites are still a public health issue as they are a preventable injury that causes pain, trauma and infection, loss of function, disfigurement, and anxiety.

Because of resource limitations, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) was unable to maintain the animal bites database for several of the years covered by this report, thus specific numbers for animal bites in Indiana for 2002 are not available. Historically, animal bites are suffered disproportionately by the young. More than half of all animal bites are from dogs.

You can learn more about how to prevent animal bites by visiting the following Web site: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/avoid_dog_bites.html.