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Avoid, Protect & Act to Prevent Illness from Bites or Scratches

Post Date:12/13/2016 8:36 a.m.

With the crisp, fall weather upon us - many are taking time to enjoy all of the outdoor attractions that our community has to offer. Nags Head Woods is a popular location for residents to enjoy hiking, jogging, hunting, and bird watching.

The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, Town of Nags Head, Town of Kill Devil Hills  and The Nature Conservancy are teaming up to provide residents with information to have a safe and enjoyable experience while in Nags Head Woods.

All residents are encouraged to understand how they can play a role in preventing bites that may transmit illness to themselves, loved ones and pets. Animals and pets can carry and transmit diseases to humans through biting and scratching.   

Illness from bites or scratches can be prevented in a three step process: avoid, protect, and act.   

Step One: Avoid Try to avoid habitats that pests thrive in such as, wooded, bushy, high grass or leaf litter areas. Trail guides are available at the Nature Visiting Center, and can help you ensure you are walking on designated trails. Be sure to stay in the middle of the trails when in the woods.   

Step Two: Protect Animal bites or scratches from wild or domestic animals (mammals) such as squirrels, raccoons, cats and dogs can transmit rabies to humans. Children are at greatest risk of being exposed to animals with rabies, and can be protected by being taught the concept of "Stranger Danger" pertains to humans and animals.  Keep your pets with you and on leashes while enjoying Nags Head Woods.

Step Three: Act Act by reporting animals that you see (domestic and/or wild) behaving oddly. Call Dare Central 252.473.3444 to make a report of an oddly behaving animal.

Act by reducing the risk of rabies in family pets. Visit the veterinarian on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date. Pets should remain indoors or under supervision when outdoors to protect them from exposure to other animals.   

If a bite or scratch occurs, immediately wash the wound(s) thoroughly with soap and water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention. Rabies in humans is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care.

When an animal bite occurs to you or your pet in Dare County, Dare Central should be contacted at 252.473.3444 so that the appropriate SPCA can be alerted to make any required notifications and arrange for isolation or quarantine in compliance with the North Carolina General Statutes and applicable Dare County Ordinances. The bite should also be reported by the healthcare provider to Dare County Department of Health & Human Services.  

Remember three steps to prevent illness related to animal or pest bites: Avoid, Protect, & Act. Please contact The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services at 252.475.5003 for more information.

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