The Delaware Division of Public Health would like to remind all healthcare providers, veterinarians, veterinary staff, and others regarding the requirement to report all potential human exposures to the rabies virus through animal bites and non-bite exposures to the Division of Public Health (DPH), Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology.
Under Delaware law, Title 3, Chapter 82 of the Delaware Code (Rabies Control in Animal and Human Populations), any medical practitioner, hospital, veterinarian or other person having knowledge of the event is required to report all cases where humans were potentially exposed to the rabies virus through animal bites or non-bite exposures by any animal known to transmit rabies.
These reports assist DPH and Animal Control officers to control and suppress the spread of rabies among the domestic and wild animal populations, to provide safeguards against exposure of this disease to citizens, and to prevent the introduction of this virus by the importation of animals or species of animals known to be vectors or carriers.
DPH is asking healthcare providers and veterinarians to report animal bite and non-bite exposures to humans using the “Human Exposure to Rabies” report form available on the DPH website at http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/dpc/rabies.html. Bite exposures comprise any penetration of the skin by teeth. Non-bite exposures include scratches and contamination of open wounds, abrasions, or mucous membranes with potentially infectious material (i.e., saliva, neural fluids) from an animal suspected to be rabid. In addition, exposures to bats are more complex and so any potential contact with a bat requires more evaluation and should be reported to DPH using the aforementioned form.
Reports should be sent by fax to the Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (OIDE) as soon as possible after learning of the exposure.
OIDE Fax: 302-223-1540
Should you need to speak to an epidemiologist during regular business hours:
OIDE Office: 302-744-4990 OR 888-295-5156
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