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Rabies Prevention

Years ago, Jefferson County, Alabama, was unofficially known as the “rabies capital of the world” due to the widespread occurrence of the disease in the domestic dog and cat population. After implementation of an aggressive vaccination program by the Jefferson County Department of Health, rabies is now confined to the occasional wild animal, such as bats, raccoons, skunks or foxes. The Jefferson County Department of Health seeks to work with various agencies to educate the public about rabies laws and the dangers of not vaccinating their pets.

Rabies Exposure

Alabama State Law requires physicians to report all treatment of animal bites to the Health Department. The Community Environmental Protection Division of the Jefferson County Department of Health investigates confirmed reports of animal bites or scratches to determine if there has been any exposure to rabies. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be quarantined and observed by a licensed veterinarian for a period of 10 days from the occurrence of the bite or scratch.

Steps for Prevention

  1. Don't approach stray or injured animals or wildlife.
  2. Don't handle bats.
  3. Keep your pets and livestock vaccinated.
  4. Keep pets properly confined or on leashes.
  5. Avoid leaving trash or leftover pet food uncovered, which may attract wildlife.

Physician and Provider Resources

JCDH Rabies Post Exposure Prophylaxis Clinic

JCDH offers Rabies vaccinations for persons who may have been bitten by high-risk animals such as bats, racoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc. We are unable to perform wound care, and we do not stock rabies immunoglobulin, and if you have been bitten by an animal that may have rabies, immunoglobulin is a recommended part of the treatment in addition to the vaccine series.

If you have been bitten by an animal, we do advise seeking medical attention AND immunoglobulin prior to calling into JCDH.

Emergency Departments with Rabies Immunoglobulin Contact Information
Appointments can be made by calling 205-588-5234.

Rabies Specimen Testing

Instructions to submit a specimen to the Jefferson County Department of Health for shipment to the State Veterinary Laboratory:
  1. Please call JCDH at 205-930-1230 Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 4:00pm, to report that you plan to submit a specimen for shipment to the State Veterinary Laboratory
  2. Without damaging the brain stem, have the head of animals weighing over 15 lbs or 20" long. Heads from farm animals may be removed at a State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. NOTE: Live animals will not be accepted.
  3. Place the specimen in a water-tight container, such as a tough plastic bag, and seal tightly so there are no leaks. Place this container in a larger water-tight container, such as a Styrofoam chest. If the specimen is bloody, add absorbent material (newspaper or paper towels) around the head. Spray with insecticide if pests are present (Fleas, Ticks, Ants, Maggots, etc…).
  4. Complete only the SUBMITTER’S INFORMATION section of the Rabies Test Report form and place it in a separate plastic bag, seal tightly, and place inside the second container. NOTE: (1) Live animals will not be accepted. (2) Only one specimen per container.

Rabies Vaccination

According to Alabama State Law, every owner of a dog or cat is required to have their animal vaccinated against rabies. The Jefferson County Rabies Officer holds rabies vaccination clinics in every community in the county on a regular basis.

For information concerning the time and location if these clinics in your area:

Susan Parsons, DVM
Jefferson County Rabies Officer
(205) 424-7387
Community Rabies Clinic Schedule

Of course, you may also take your pet to any licensed veterinarian to receive a rabies vaccination.

If you have a question concerning rabies prevention or rabies exposures:
(205) 930-1230

Central Health Center
(Guy M. Tate)

1400 Sixth Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Clinics
(205) 588-5234

Programs
(205) 933-9110
Eastern Health Center
601 West Blvd Roebuck
Birmingham, AL 35206
Programs and Clinics
(205) 588-5234
Western Health Center
631 Bessemer Super Hwy
Midfield, AL 35228
Programs and Clinics
(205) 588-5234
Hours of Operation:
All Centers are open 7:45am to 4:30pm. Phone lines for clinic appointments open at 7:00am Monday through Friday.
 

If this is a Medical Emergency call 911.
If you are a patient and need to reach your health care team after business hours for non-life threatening conditions, call (205) 588-5234. For Medical Emergencies dial 911.

Nondiscrimination Compliance Office
(205) 930-1585
jcdhcompliance@jcdh.org
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