BCHHS Public Health Provider Alert: Provider responsibilities when animal bite; rabies in Haiti; Foreign Travel Clinic

May 25, 2021

Reporting of Animal Bites by Evaluating Healthcare Provider

  • Per NC General Statute 130A-196, a physician (or a healthcare provider under their direction) who attends to a person with an animal bite (from a domestic or wild animal) must report the bite to the appropriate animal control agency within 24 hours. (While the statute says to notify the local health director, local animal control agencies enforce this statute under the direction of the local health director.)
    • If the bite occurred in Asheville City limits, contact Asheville Police Department’s Animal Services Division at 828-252-1110.
    • If exposure occurred outside Asheville city limits, but in Buncombe County, contact the Animal Services Division of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office at 828-250-6670.
      • Depending on the location of the exposure, Buncombe County’s Animal Services staff may instruct you to contact one of the other municipalities in Buncombe County.
  • We also ask that the healthcare provider attending to the person with an animal bite complete an animal bite report form and fax it to BCHHS Communicable Disease staff at 828-250-6169.
  • Public health staff review all of this information and follow up to ensure appropriate management of both the animal and the bite victim.
  • I encourage you to review CDC information on wound management for tetanus prevention.
  • Please encourage your patients, coworkers, family and friends to keep their pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccines and make sure they know what to do if they find a bat in their home. (Invariably, every year, local families end up getting rabies PEP because a bat they woke to find in their house is allowed to fly away, rather than be captured and tested for rabies.) Additional information about rabies can be found on the CDC website.

Rabies in Haiti

Speaking of rabies, because individuals from our area travel to Haiti from time-to-time, as worldwide travel picks back up, I want to make you aware of a recent CDC health alert related to rabies in Haiti.