Rabies is a virus that most mammals are susceptible to and if not treated early, is fatal. This virus is maintained in wildlife populations throughout the world, and in Alameda County. In California, the animals of most concern are bats and skunks, but other wild animals have been infected with rabies, such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons and opossums. Our District routinely submits wild animals for rabies testing that had direct physical contact with humans or pets.
The intent of public health regulations is to prevent this fatal disease from being acquired by humans or our pets. For this reason rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory, and strongly recommended for cats in California.
In Alameda County, the authority for the Rabies Program is the responsibility of the County Health Officer at the Department of Public Health, which provides laboratory support for the program and conducts human case investigations. Our District works cooperatively with the 13 local animal control agencies to administrate the rabies surveillance program; compiles and manages statistical data that is submitted from the local agencies; and prepares the “annual animal bite incidents report” for the California Department of Public Health.
All bites of animals to humans are to be reported to the local animal control agencies; dogs and cats are to be quarantined for 10 days, livestock animals to be quarantined for 14 days and wild animals are to be submitted for rabies testing by the Public Health Laboratory (PHL). Our District initiates and conducts rabies surveillance follow up on an animal that tested positive for rabies by PHL.
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