Rabies is a virus that in the U. S. is usually transmitted by a bite from a wild infected animal. Raccoons are the most common carriers of rabies in the U. S., but bats are most likely to infect people. An infected animal has the rabies virus in its saliva and can transmit it to a person through biting.
The first symptoms can appear from a few days to more than a year after the bite occurs. One of the most common signs of a rabies infection is a tingling or twitching sensation around the area of the animal bite.
If you or your child has been bitten by an animal, wash the bite area with soap and water for 10 minutes and cover the bite with a clean bandage. Immediately go to the nearest emergency room. Call Jefferson County Animal Control to locate the animal. If you know the owner of the animal, get all the information about the animal, including vaccination status and the owner's name and address. Notify the Jefferson County Health Department with the above information.
ANY exposure must be reported immediately, to the Jefferson County Health Department during business hours at 304-728-8416 or by calling 911.
DO NOT wait to see if you feel ill; by the time symptoms of rabies appear, it is too late!
The Jefferson County Health Department investigates and tests animal specimens for rabies. The health department staff will also inform the public of what procedures to follow after an encounter with a possible rabid animal.