3.2.8. Are/should animal-bite injuries be notifiable?

Notification of animal-bite injuries involving the collection and analysis of bite related data for all centrally reported human exposures should be encouraged. In many situations, the accurate investigation and laboratory confirmation of human bites from suspected rabid animals (post-bite clinical examination and observation for at least 10 days) will be impractical. However, reports of human exposures by suspect rabid animals, including information on bite victims, animal characteristics (e.g. species, owned or unowned), bite characteristics, type of exposure and treatment provided, should be systematically recorded by the clinic, and reported and notified to local and national public health authorities. 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 of reported cases can be expected as a consequence of a successful rabies control programme. See Section 5.9 of the Rabies Surveillance Blueprint for further information.

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Photo courtesy of the Serengeti Carnivore Disease Project

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