Rabies Prevention and Control

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The Rabies Prevention and Control Program evaluates all potential exposures to rabies in humans and animals. The Durham County Department of Public Health works in conjunction with the Animal Services Division of the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and the Animal Protection Society of Durham to ensure state rabies laws are followed.

For questions or for more information about rabies control, call (919) 560-7976.

If you have questions about pet vaccinations or if you would like to find out when and where to take your pet for vaccinations at Durham County Animal Services, please call (919) 560-0900.

You should know about rabies.For Healthcare providers.

Vaccination of Animals

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division, located at 3005 Glenn Road, provides rabies vaccines for a small fee of $10. No appointment is necessary, but vaccinations take place only Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Animals must be at least four months old and owners are required to show photo identification to verify Durham County residency. Cash is the only form of payment accepted.

Animal Bites

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, follow these guidelines:

  • Wash all wounds and contact areas thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Contact your physician and/or seek medical care.
  • Call the Durham County Animal Services Division to report the incident (919-560-0900). North Carolina law requires animal bites to be reported by the person bitten (the victim), the owner of the biting animal, and the physician who first treats the bite victim.
  • If there is no risk of further injury, isolate the animal until Animal Services arrives to investigate.

If an animal attacks your pet, or if you come into contact with a wild animal, dead or alive, follow these guidelines:

  • Put on gloves before touching your pet; do not touch the wild animal!
  • Isolate your pet from other animals and people.
  • Call your veterinarian. Your pet may need a rabies booster shot immediately.
  • Call Animal Services at (919) 560-0900 to investigate and capture/secure the wild animal (if possible) for testing.

Public Health Process for Animal Bites and Exposures

The prevention of human rabies and management of animal bites is a public health concern of the highest priority. Prompt reporting of animal bites and exposures by both victims and animal owners, investigation by the Animal Services Division of the Durham County Sheriff’s Department, post-exposure management recommendations by the Durham County Department of Public Health, and appropriate medical treatment in local healthcare facilities are all vitally important in preventing rabies.

In Durham County, the following process occurs when someone has an animal bite/exposure:

  • Persons who suffer an animal bite or an exposure to a wild animal, such as a raccoon, bat, fox, coyote, skunk, etc, should immediately contact Durham County Animal Services at (919) 560-0900.
  • Animal Services will complete an investigation of the incident by gathering information from the bite victim, animal owner, reporting physician, and others as needed.
  • Bite victims and animal owners are given an Animal Bite packet by the investigating officer which includes instructions on how to contact the health department in regard to the required 10-day confinement of the animal, and a risk assessment of all exposures.
  • Each bite report is forwarded by Animal Services to the Durham County Department of Health Department for review by a public health nurse*. The nurse
    • speaks with each bite victim to establish that an injury/bite or exposure has occurred.
    • recommends post exposure treatment by a medical provider, when indicated, for persons who have been bitten or had an exposure.
    • speaks with the owner of the biting animal to verify the rabies vaccination status of the animal.
    • ensures the required 10 day confinement period for the animal begins at a specified location.

*In assessing the risk of exposure and need for post exposure treatment, public health nurses utilize current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, and the NC Public Health Veterinarians of the NC Division of Public Health Communicable Disease Branch.

Information Contained in the Durham County Animal Bite Packet

If you have been involved in an animal bite or exposure, the following information which is required by the health department can be copied, completed, signed, and faxed to the Durham County Department of Public Health at (919) 560-7828.