Programs & Services

Nursing Services - Animal Bites/Rabies - Portage County  Health Department



Rosemary Ferraro R.N., B.S.N., Nursing Director


Childhood Immunizations | Adult Immunizations | HIPAA Policy | West Nile Virus
Bio-terrorism | Bats | Animal Bites/Rabies | Ticks | Health Related Links

Office Hours:  8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
 Monday through Friday
Contact Information


Animal Bites

Whenever a dog or other animal bites a person, a report must be made to the Health Commissioner within 24 hours of the bite.  At the direction of the Health Commissioner, the dog or other animal shall either be confined by its owner or be placed under supervision of a veterinarian at the owner’s expense.  This period of isolation or observation shall not be less than 10 days from the date the person was bitten.  No person shall fail to comply with the requirements of this section, nor fail to immediately report to the Health Commissioner any symptom or behavior suggestive of rabies.

Violation of this ordinance is a minor misdemeanor and shall be subject to penalty.

If an animal is not available for the required 10-day isolation period, rabies post exposure vaccination will be recommended by the Health Department.  This applies to all stray dogs and cats that cannot be observed after the 10-day period.

If you have an animal bite to report; click on the Animal Bite Report Form provided below in PDF format. Note: Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader available free at Form can be mailed, faxed or electronically to

Animal Bite Report Form.PDF


People are exposed to rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal, or less commonly, when saliva from an infected animal gets into an open wound or onto a mucous membrane. Any bite wound should be thoroughly washed with soap and water as soon as possible. Animal bite victims should consult with their doctor and promptly report the incident to the local health department. Rabies is almost always fatal once clinical symptoms appear. To confirm the victim’s risk of being exposed to rabies, a decision must be made to either test or quarantine the biting animal, or to treat the victim. Treatment must be initiated soon after the exposure to be effective. Ohio’s local health departments investigate over 24,000 animal bite incidents annually. Because of health department activities and medical treatment, human rabies is rare in the U.S. Ohio’s last human rabies case was in 1970.

Raccoon Rabies

Since the mid-1970s, raccoon-strain rabies has spread along the entire East Coast of the United States. Raccoons are now a major reservoir of wildlife rabies from Florida to Maine, and the virus has moved into Canada as well. Raccoons are infecting many domestic animals and putting people at risk from this still-deadly disease.

In 1996, raccoon-strain rabies began to move into northeast Ohio from Pennsylvania. Although there were only two cases of raccoon-strain rabies in Ohio that year, the disease quickly escalated in 1997 resulting in 62 raccoon-strain rabies cases confirmed in three northeast Ohio counties. The Ohio Department of Health, with the support of other state and federal agencies, implemented an ongoing program to immunize wild raccoons for rabies using an oral rabies vaccine (ORV). This program has significantly reduced animal cases and prevented the spread of raccoon rabies into the rest of Ohio. Beginning in 2001, neighboring states began to join the Ohio effort to control raccoon rabies. With support from USDA: Wildlife Services, this multi-state effort is now called he Appalachian Ridge ORV Barrier.

Additional Information is available at:

Additional information is available at:
Contact Us

449 S. Meridian St., 3rd Floor, Portage County Admin. Bldg.
Ravenna, Ohio 44266
Ph: 330-296-9919  Fax: 330-297-3597 E-Mail:

Back to top of page