Rabies is an immediately notifiable condition and a reportable disease in Oklahoma. All animals testing positive for rabies will be investigated by the Oklahoma State Department of Health Acute Disease Service epidemiologist. Healthcare providers can speak with an epidemiologist about suspected human rabies by calling (405) 271-4060.
Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus. The rabies virus can affect the central nervous system of humans and other warm-blooded mammals. Human rabies is very rare in the United States, but animal rabies, particularly in some wild animal species, is more common. Rabies infections are almost always fatal once symptoms of the disease have begun.
Rabies virus is found only in the brain, spinal fluid, and saliva of infected animals. Transmission of the rabies virus can occur if any of these fluids or tissues from an infected animal enters the body through a bite, fresh opening of the skin that has not scabbed over, or mucous membrane (eyes, lining of the nose, or mouth). The following are not exposures to rabies: being scratched by the animal, contact with blood, urine, feces, dried saliva, petting or touching the hair of a rabid animal, touching water bowls, lead ropes, gates, trailers, or other surfaces which the rabid animal had contact.
Changes to animal rabies testing – effective January 1, 2020
The OSDH Public Health Laboratory (PHL) will no longer conduct routine animal rabies testing on Saturdays. The OSDH PHL will continue to perform animal rabies testing Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. The PHL will conduct testing at some point during weekends in which a state holiday either precedes or follows the weekend, to minimize delays in specimen testing. Urgent test requests may occur on weekends or holidays following consultation with OSDH Acute Disease Service (ADS). Healthcare providers, veterinarians, and animal control officers are advised to consult with the ADS Epidemiologist-On-Call at (405) 271-4060 (24/7/365 availability) to determine if urgent animal rabies testing is warranted based on the bite circumstances, severity, and animal involved.
OK-HAN 287 December 17, 2019 - Changes to the Oklahoma State Department of Health Animal Rabies Testing Schedule.