The Philadelphia Division of Disease Control (DDC) tracks and manages animal bite information and provides medical recommendations and information to city residents who have experienced an animal bite. The following information below is sourced directly from the DDC. The DDC tracks all animal bite incidents in Philadelphia and all bites should be reported. Please check the DDC webpage on Diseases and Conditions A-Z for the most up to date information on animal bites.
What should I do if an animal bites me?
Animals can inflict serious and even fatal injuries through their bite. An animal bite can result in a break in the skin, bruise, or puncture wound. It is important to seek prompt medical care when bitten. Even injuries that don’t seem to be that serious can hide underlying damage to tissues or may get infected with germs or the rabies virus.
In addition to seeking medical treatment, you should notify the Division of Disease Control (DDC) at 215-685-6748 to report the incident. Once notified of the incident, DDC will evaluate whether you are at risk for rabies infection and whether you need to receive postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). Please refer to the rabies information section on the DDC page Diseases and Conditions A-Z for more information on the rabies virus and protocol.
One of the best ways to prevent infection after a bite is to wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. If the site of the animal bite is infected there is a chance that the infection can travel to other places in the body if not treated. A healthcare provider can help determine whether treatment or vaccines such as tetanus or rabies are needed to prevent infection.