Press Release Submitted by the Knox County Health Department:
Knox County Health Department Responds to Dog Bites and Rabies Risk
Missouri law mandates that local county health departments respond, along with or under order from the Missouri Department of Health, to any animal to human bite. In Knox County the predominate animal bite reported is that of dog to human. With dog to human bites comes the potential for rabies and other bacterial infections (Capnocytophaga canimorsus, Pasteurella multocida and P. haemolytica, Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, anaerobes, Moraxella, Corynebacterium, Neisseria, tetanus, tularemia).
Per Lori Moots-Clair, Administrator and Communicable Disease Investigator with the Knox County Health Department, “many people question our involvement with animal bites—our soul involvement with animal bites is preventing the spread of disease, and rapid response in the event rabies is potentially a factor. Per Moots-Clair “Our authority comes into play with mandating quarantine or euthanizing of an animal for rabies testing when the significant potential for rabies transmission is possible (322.140 RSMo).”
Rabies is alive and well in the state of Missouri, and annually bats, coons, skunks and more test positive for rabies. This means that domestic animals such as dogs have the constant ability to contract the disease if not vaccinated. Many cities in the county have vaccination ordinances, and the local vet service provides special, low-cost clinics to assist with vaccination that prevents rabies in domestic animals.
Even with the readily available vaccine, Moots-Clair reports that “we have many times a year that we must quarantine dogs for 10 days, limiting all interaction with anyone during that period, and this comes sometimes with the help of law enforcement, sometimes the vet office and has the potential to be at the expense of the animal owner”. When the health department calls the animal owner to talk about the reported bite one thing makes everyone’s job a lot easier, CURRENT VACCINATION. With current vaccination, the report to local health includes a copy of the vaccination record and closing of the agency’s involvement. Without vaccination, it requires ongoing communication over 10 days and potential preventative rabies vaccine/immunoglobin to the human that has been bitten (a costly set of injections).
Per Moots-Clair, “Vaccinating your dogs (and cats), makes everyone’s job easier. And because of the increasing number of reports, Knox County Health Department is going to one time remove a barrier to vaccine (cost) and have Dr. Blakely with Lindquist Vet service onsite at Knox County Health Department in Edina on November 14, 2019 from 5 to 7pm, giving free rabies vaccine to dogs”. You must be a Knox County Resident to receive this service, and you must have your animals contained (by leash or by carrier) when presenting at the health department. All services will be delivered outside the front entrance to Knox County Health Department.
Like Dr. Blakely and Dr. Lindquist, the health department understands the significant danger that rabies presents and we hope that Knox County residents will assist us all in keeping our community safe—by taking advantage of this NO COST opportunity for Dogs and Rabies Vaccine.
For more information call Lori Moots-Clair, Administrator and Communicable Disease Nurse with the Knox County Health Department.