Rabies Information

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals which is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus infects the central nervous system causing a variety of symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches.  As the infection continues people may experience insomnia, anxiety, confusion, partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, increase salivation, difficulty swallowing, and fear of water.

The infection, if not treated properly, leads to death.  Human rabies deaths in the United States are rare due to the rabies vaccine and immune globulin.  There is no standard approved treatment for rabies; however, rabies vaccine can be given before or after an exposure to prevent illness. 

The Department investigates and does follow-up on reported animal bites (mammals), requires confinement of animals as needed, and coordinates laboratory analysis for potential rabid animals where human exposure has occurred.

The Department also:

  1. Coordinates intervention measures to minimize the spread of wild animal rabies to domestic animals.
  2. Serves as liaison within the County, the veterinary medical communities, the SPCA, the PA Game
    Commission, the PA Dept. of Agriculture Dog Law Enforcement Agent, local animal control officers
    and other agencies, and the public.

Arranges for animal specimen testing for cases of human exposure at the PA Department of Health - Laboratory in Lionville, PA.

Please contact the Department's Central Office (215-345-3336) with questions and for the procedure for testing specimens.

BCDH - Animal Bite and/or Exposure Report Form 

The Department works to have an effective education program within the County. Below are some information on Rabies for printing.

Animal Safety Awareness Handout
Rabies Information and Prevention Handout
Rabies Questions and Answers

If you are exposed or suspect you have been exposed to a rabid animal:

  1. Wash the wound with soap and water
  2. Seek medical attention immediately
  3. Gather the following information:
    • Geographic location of the contact with the animal  
    • Type of animal involved
    • How the exposure occurred
    • Vaccination status of the animal (if known)
    • Can the animal safely be captured and tested for rabies

Enjoy wild animals from a distance.  DO NOT handle, feed, or attract wild animals

  1. NEVER bring wild animals into your home, including feral cats
  2. Teach children to NEVER handle unfamiliar animals. “Love your own, leave other animals alone”
  3. Prevent bats from entering living spaces
  4. When traveling abroad, avoid contact with wild animals and dogs in developing countries

For more information:

CDC Website on rabies information

Genevie A. Kostick, B.S., S.E.O.
Program Coordinator

Neshaminy Manor Center
1282 Almshouse Road
Doylestown PA 18901
Phone: 215-345-3333
Email: [email protected]