Marion County Environmental Health follows up on reported animal bites that occur within Marion County. The main concern is the risk of rabies. All mammals can get rabies but bats are the main carrier of rabies in Oregon.
Rabies virus does not penetrate intact skin or clothing. Thus, unless there is a history of a bite that broke the skin, or saliva contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (including the eyes), there was no exposure. Those who merely pet a dog or pick up a bat later found to be rabid, for example, have not had a significant exposure. If there was no exposure, then there is no risk.
When a domestic pet (dog, cat,or ferret) bites a human, that animal must be placed in quarantine for 10 days.
“Quarantine” means to keep the animal away from people and other animals that it is not normally around. The animal needs to be kept on the owner’s property and to stay in Marion County for 10 days or placed in a public facility such as the Humane Society or a veterinarian’s clinic.
If an animal in quarantine becomes ill or the owner notices unusual behavior in the animal, this should be reported to the authorities immediately. Contact Marion County Environmental Health at 503-588-5346.If a wild animal (squirrels, rats, bats, etc.) causes a bite, follow-up cannot be done unless the animal can be captured, killed and tested. Victim should cleanse the wound well and get medical treatment, if needed.
While almost all mammals can be experimentally infected with the rabies virus, in real life many species are essentially rabies-free, due to both behavioral and dietary characteristics as well as innate resistance to the virus. Lagomorphs (e.g., rabbits, hares), small rodents (e.g., mice, rats, squirrels, gerbils, hamsters), and cervids (e.g., deer, elk) all fall into this category. Absent extraordinary circumstances (genuinely "unprovoked" bites), bites by these animals do not merit follow-up for rabies.