Rabies is a disease caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected mammals and is transmitted to pets and humans by bites, or possibly by contamination of an open cut with saliva. Because there is no cure, treatment is critical for a person who has been infected by rabies. In Wisconsin, skunks and bats are the most likely animals to carry the rabies virus, although rabies has occurred in dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons and livestock.

Taylor County Health Department works collaboratively with local veterinarians, law enforcement, health care providers, the State Lab of Hygiene, the victim of an animal bite and animal owner, to ensure completion of post-exposure follow-up of all reported animal bites in Taylor County. Follow-up includes observation and testing of the biting animal and possible treatment of the victim. In most cases, observation or testing of the biting animal will rule out the possibility of rabies.

Wisconsin Statute 95.21

Wisconsin Statute 95.21 “Rabies Control Program” requires that a dog or cat which has bitten a person must be delivered to a veterinarian within 24 hours after being contacted by the law enforcement agency or health department for examination and quarantine of not less that 10 days at the expense of the owner. If the animal is currently immunized against rabies as evidenced by a valid vaccination certificate, the animal may be quarantined on the premises of the owner, following initial examination by a veterinarian.

If no valid evidence of vaccination can be displayed, the dog or cat will be impounded by the veterinarian or at an isolation facility for at least 10 days at the owner’s expense.

On or after the 10th day, a final examination will be conducted by a veterinarian who will complete the veterinarian’s certificate. The signed certificate must be returned to law enforcement.

For additional information contact Law enforcement, your medical provider or the Taylor County Health Department at 715 . 748 . 1410 – option 5.

Bitten by an animal?

If you are bitten by an animal seek medical treatment for an evaluation by a health care provider. An assessment will be done at that time for your risk related to rabies. Law Enforcement should be contacted regardless if the animal is a pet, wild or stray animal for appropriate quarantine measures to assess the animal for rabies.