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3.2.7 Are/should animal-bite injuries be notifiable?

Notification of animal-bite injuries should be encouraged, and involves the collection and analysis of bite-related data for all centrally-reported human exposures. In many situations, it will be impractical to conduct an accurate investigation of human bites by suspect rabid animals (post-bite clinical examination and observation for at least 10 days) and conduct laboratory confirmation.

However, reports of human exposure to suspect rabid animals should be systematically recorded by the clinic, and reported and notified to local and national public health authorities. These records should include information on bite victims, animal characteristics (e.g. species, owned or unowned, vaccination status), bite characteristics, type of exposure and treatment provided. An increase in the number of bites by suspect rabid animals in a region can be indicative of an increased risk of rabies circulating in a population. Similarly, a decrease in reported cases can be expected as a consequence of a successful rabies control programme.


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Version 1 - Last updated November 2012