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Animal Bites and Other Potential Rabies Exposures (OPREs)
Public and Physician Information

      Animal bites and OPREs should be reported to the local health department WITHIN 24 HOURS for two reasons: 1) the public health concern from potential rabies transmission and 2) the injury that can result from a bite. Local health departments investigate animal bites to determine the risk of exposure to rabies and the need for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for a victim.

     Encounters with dogs and cats account for the majority of animal bites and OPRE reports in West Virginia. For animal bites caused by dogs, cats, and ferrets, the animal is required by law to be confined for 10 days to rule out human exposure to rabies. If the animal is not available for confinement or testing for rabies, the bite victim may need to get PEP; depending on the circumstance, type of exposure, and the type of animal involved.

General Information
Physician Information
Dog Bite Prevention
  • CDC Dog Bite Prevention Page
    Every year, nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs; over half are children. This page provides dog bite statistics and information on preventing dog bites.

  • AVMA Dog Bite Prevention
    The American Veterinary Medical Association website has many resources on dog bit prevention, including podcasts and social media links.

West Virginia Surveillance Data
Every year, 2,500 animal bites and OPREs are reported in West Virginia. In addition to human surveillance for rabies, animal rabies surveillance is conducted across the state. Below are links to information about animal bites and rabies surveillance in WV.