Dog Bites and Animal Bites Knox County Ohio Mount VernoKnox County averages around 100 reported incidents of animal bites each year. In 2011, the Knox County Health Department investigated 158 incidents, the highest number ever reported. The majority of these incidents involved dogs. Other cases included cats, ferrets, raccoons and bats. The reason the health department becomes involved in animal bites is that it’s the law. According to Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28, “Whenever a person is bitten by a dog or other mammal, report of such bite shall be made within 24 hours to the health commissioner of the district in which the bite occurred.” If you have been bitten by an animal or know someone who has, please report the incident to the Knox County Health Department. If you go to the hospital or contact local law enforcement to file a report, they will also report the incident to the health department. If you need to report an incident, download a animal bite report form

What We Do

The Knox County Health Department is required to quarantine all dogs, cats and ferrets that bite people. The quarantine is for 10 days and is most typically done at the animal owner’s home. The purpose of the quarantine is to ensure that the biting animal does not have rabies. If the biting animal has rabies at the time it bit someone, the symptoms of rabies will be seen in that dog, cat or ferret within 10 days following the bite

What to do if you are bitten or scratched by an animal

  • Thoroughly clean the wound area with soap and water and cover with a clean dressing or bandage;
  • Immediately seek medical care with your family doctor, urgent care or emergency room. Many bites are puncture wounds that can easily become infected if not cared for properly;
  • Try to obtain information about the animal’s owner including name, address and telephone number;
  • Try to obtain information about the biting animal such as the type of animal, color, breed, name and rabies tag;
  • Make sure that the healthcare provider reports the animal bite to the Knox County Health Department, if not please contact the Knox County Health Department at 740-392-2200, Ext. 2226, to file an animal bite report

Check out this brochure on how to avoid getting bit by a dog


Rabies and Raccoons Knox County OhioWhat is rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus travels through the central nervous system to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, the disease nearly always causes death. This is a disease that is preventable in several ways; keeping our pets currently vaccinated against rabies, avoiding encounters with wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes, and if bitten by a rabid animal seek immediate medical attention and rabies treatment.

How is rabies spread?

Rabies is spread or transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal to another animal or human. Usually, this happens through a bite that breaks the skin or contact with saliva into an open scratch or wound. On very rare occasions, it is has been documented that it can be spread if someone’s eyes, nose or mouth comes in contact with saliva of a rabid animal.

What animals can have rabies?

In Ohio, the most common animals to have rabies are bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Bats have been the only animal to test positive for rabies in Knox County over the last 30 years. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the last domestic animal to test positive was a dog in 1966. One reason we do not often see rabies in domestic animals and pets is because of the availability and inexpensive cost of rabies vaccination.

What happens if my pet dog or cat is suspected of rabies?

At the end of the 10 day quarantine period, a Knox County Health Department Environmental sanitarian will conduct a field visit to the animal’s location to observe the animal for any visual symptoms of Rabies. The sanitarian shall question the owner to determine if the animal has been eating and drinking normally and exhibiting no strange behavior. If the animal exhibits any visual symptoms of rabies, a behavior pattern different from what was observed prior to quarantine, or has not been eating or drinking during quarantine, the environmental sanitarian will issue an order to the owner to transport the animal to a veterinarian for clinical examination. The veterinarian shall determine if the quarantine shall continue under clinical supervision, or whether the animal shall be euthanized for Rabies testing.

What’s my risk with bats and rabies?

Currently, bats are the only animal to test positive for rabies in Knox County, therefore it is important to understand the risks associated with bat encounters. Examples of situations where there is a probability of rabies exposure:

  • Direct contact with a bat such as handling a bat, having a bat hit or fly into you or seeing marks on your skin after coming in contact with a bat;
  • Unknown contact with a bat such as waking up and seeing a bat in the room with you, finding a bat near a young child either outside or in a room or building;
  • Check out this additional information on bat encounters and determining rabies risk

Please note:

  • If you feel you have been exposed to a bat, please seek immediate medical attention at a local emergency room and explain to them that you may have been exposed to a bat;
  • If the bat is seen and be captured, that is always best so that the bat can be tested. If you do not feel that you can capture the bat, please call a wildlife specialist.
  • Do not take a captured bat into the urgent care or emergency room; they do not test bats for rabies. Please call the Knox County Health Department for testing arrangements.

Helpful Links

CDC Rabies Homepage

Ohio Department of Health Rabies Program

How to Safely Catch a Bat, New York State Department of Health

Ohio Department of Health Rabies Distribution Maps

Ohio Department of Health Rabies Post Exposure Treatment Flow Chart




Take heed when you hear the age-old phrase: “Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Bed Bugs Infestation and Control Knox County OhioBecause bed bugs are real and they do bite. And while they are not known to transmit disease, the bites from bed bugs can be problematic and their presence can be destructive and a nuisance.

Bed bugs have plagued humans for thousands of years and are an emerging pest throughout the U.S. Increased international travel, increased multiple tenant housing with high tenant turnover and changes in pesticides and insecticides are some of the reasons we are seeing more of these annoying little bugs. To address the problem, the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force was formed in 2008. The Task Force’s website, is one of most highly regarded sites for information on bed bugs.

Contact the health department’s This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   staff if you need help identifying bed bugs or need recommendations on getting rid of them. The greatest obstacle to managing bed bugs is overcoming the myths that are associated with them.


For more information, including guidance sheets for professionals and choosing an exterminator, visit Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force.


Some Bed Bug Myths

  • “Only “dirty people” get bed bugs.”
  • “Bed bugs are only found in places like military barracks where people are crowded together”
  • “Bed bugs are only a problem for low – income people.”

The Bottom Line

Bed bugs are blood feeders. Regardless of one’s hygiene, financial status or place of residence, bed bugs can infest your home.

Some Quick Bed Bug Facts

  • Bed bugs are blood feeders. They can live for a year after taking a blood meal
  • Bed bug bites normally occur at night, and the bite is generally painless.
  • Most people develop itchy welts after they've been bitten.
  • Scratching the welts may lead to the development of dermatitis and secondary infections.
  • Bed bugs are not killed by cold. “Freezing them out” doesn't work.

Getting to Know Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

  • Adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye
  • They are brown and about ¼ – 3/8” long when full - grown. In the nymph stages, bed bugs are whitish and smaller, but they are still often visible.
  • They don't fly, but they are adept crawlers, and they move FAST! –They scatter quickly if they’re disturbed.
  • Nocturnal blood feeders
  • Inject a sharp beak, in the sleeping host. Bites are painless
  • Nymphs feed 3 minutes/ adults10-15 minutes.
  • They then hide to digest blood
  • Prefer, fabric, wood and paper to hide

Bed bugs love to hide in nooks and crannies.
Furniture joints, receptacles, baseboards, cracks in the wall, and suitcases are ideal hiding places

Bed Bug Hiding Places

  • Bed Bug Hiding PlacesMattresses, box springs,bed Frames
  • Cracks & crevices
  • Carpet tack strips
  • Baseboards
  • Window frames
  • Electric outlets and switch plates
  • Wall Hangings
  • Drapery pleats
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Ceilings moldings
  • Bed bug eggs are glued to the surface they've been laid on, so they're hard to dislodge.

Bed Bug Control

  • Bed bugs are hard to kill.
  • No “over the counter” pesticide is effective.
  • “Bug bombs” designed to kill flying insects only scatter bed bugs.
  • Treatment requires a licensed pest control operator
  • Eradication of an infestation requires:
  • Multiple treatments;
  • The use of several different pesticides;
  • Compliance by the occupants;
  • Disposal of infested furniture (sometimes.)‏

People with bed bugs need to:

  • Reduce clutter
  • Encase their mattress and box springs
  • Store their belongings in tightly closed plastic bags or containers
  • Vacuum the affected area daily.

What Not To Do

  • Do not apply insecticides to human skin, clothing, bed linens or bedding
  • Grocery store insect sprays won’t eliminate a bed bug infestation.
  • Boric acid products don’t work
  • Don’t use “bug bombs.”
  • Don’t use Sevin dust.


For more information, including guidance sheets for professionals and choosing an exterminator,
visit Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force





Mosquito Protection Knox County Ohio

Mosquitoes are an all too familiar part of summer. They are not only annoying, but they present a potential health risk as carriers of disease. Eliminating mosquito habitats around your home can go a long way to reduce the mosquito population. To help with the elimination of mosquitoes, the Knox County Health Department applies an EPA-approved  pesticide in areas that are prone to mosquito infestation, especially when there will be large gatherings of people, such as recreation parks and during community festivals. The pesticide that the health department uses is harmless to humans. See below for more information on mosquito spraying.

Click here for information on West Nile Virus in Ohio


Doing Your Part to Eliminate Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes require standing water for their young to hatch and develop. Once eggs are laid, a new generation of mosquitoes can hatch, grow and emerge from the water as adults in as little as one week. It does not take much water for mosquitoes to hatch and grow. For example, the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus prefer to breed in old stagnant water with organic material, whereas the mosquitoes that carry La Crosse encephalitis prefer somewhat cleaner water to lay their eggs and use small containers and crevices that may hold only a cup or two of water. Eliminating mosquito habitats around your home can prevent bites, reduce your risk of disease and make your summer evenings more enjoyable!

Here is a checklist of common and easily overlooked mosquito habitats around the home:

  • Mosquito ProtectionTires, buckets, cans, bottles and plastic containers
  • Bird baths (drain and refill every 3-4 days)
  • Wading or kiddie pools (drain and refill frequently)
  • Pools and hot tubs (keep chlorinated, covered or keep completely dry)
  • Pool covers that hold water
  • Boats, boat covers and tarps
  • Pet food containers and water dishes
  • Clogged gutters and downspouts
  • Leaky outside faucets that create puddles
  • Rain barrels that are not properly screened or treated
  • Low areas that form puddles
  • Planters and pots, including saucers and catch trays
  • Trash cans (use tight fitting lids and keep them covered)
  • Rain barrels (screen with fine 1.6 mm mesh)
  • Mature trees that have develop cavities or holes that hold water – fill the voids with sand
  • ANYTHING that has the potential to hold even small amounts of water

Personal Protection

Mosquitoes are attracted to anything they can get a blood meal from. Some mosquitoes, including the ones that carry West Nile virus will readily enter homes when screens are damaged or missing. Avoid being a mosquito meal by taking these simple precautions.

  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active;
  • Wear light colors, long sleeves, long pants, and socks when spending time outside in mosquito-infested areas;
  • Make sure door and window screens are tight fitting and free of holes ;
  • Use an EPA registered insect repellent when outside where mosquitoes are present;
  • When camping or spending time outdoors, consider Permethrin treated bed-nets, tents, or clothing;
  • Avoid perfume, colognes, or other heavy scents that may attract mosquitoes.

These are some things that don’t work:

  • Bug zappers;
  • Electronic “ultrasound” devices;
  • Insect repellents that aren’t EPA registered.

Mosquito Repellent Information

Insect repellents play a very important role in protecting people from mosquitoes. They help prevent mosquitoes from biting and reduce your exposure and risk to the diseases they may carry. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends “the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing.” Look for products that contain:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD
  • IR3535


For more information about insect repellents, check out the CDC website.

Precautions You Can Take When We Spray For Mosquitoes

Mosquito Spraying in Knox County

The health department will issue a news release to the local media regarding dates and locations where we will be spraying for mosquitoes. The news release usually is issued on Friday, preceding the week of the scheduled spraying. You can also check the Upcoming Events section on our home page for notices about mosquito spraying in your area

While the pesticide we use is EPA-approved, do not follow a spray truck when it is operating. If you are in a vehicle, raise the windows, turn on the air conditioning (on recirculation mode), wait for the truck to pass or find an alternate route.

Check out some more specific information on the EPA approved pesticide we use.  





Ticks are abundant in the spring and summer months and it is important to protect yourself from tick bites and reduce your risk of tick borne diseases. Ticks are most commonly found in wooded and bushy areas and where there is high grass. Avoiding these areas is the best prevention, but insect repellents and wearing light colored clothing is also important to protect yourself.

Find out more information on ticks from the CDC

Check out our brochure on ticks

Deer Tick Dog Tick

Black-Legged Deer Ticks    American Dog Tick

What diseases do ticks transmit?

In Ohio, there are three (3) diseases that that are of concern: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis. The Centers for Disease Control has very good information about ticks and the diseases they can carry. If you suspect you might have a tick transmitted disease, please seek immediate medical attention.

How to remove a tick?

If a tick is attached to you find out to remove it from your body

Can ticks be tested for disease?

No, the Ohio Department of Health no longer tests ticks for the presence of tick borne diseases.

Can ticks be brought in for identification?

Yes, the Knox County Health Department’s Environmental Health Services staff will identify the species of tick and explain what diseases are associated with the identified tick. In some cases, the tick may be submitted directly to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) for further identification. In order to have a tick identified, please take the following steps:

  1. Ticks attached to humans and pets may be dropped off at our department during normal business hours.
  2. Ticks must be kept and transported in a small air-tight container, such as a pill bottle or baby food jar;
  3. Place into the container with the tick a ½ inch strip of paper that has been moistened with one (1) drop of water (the paper does not have to be saturated, just damp);
  4. The person dropping off the tick will be required to complete the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Tick and Insect Identification Form.  This form will be available from Environmental Health Services staff;
  5. An Environmental Health Services staff member will contact you by phone and/or email with the tick identification when we receive it from ODH.
  6. If you have any medical concerns concerning tick-borne diseases or symptoms, please discuss the situation with a medical physician.

Helpful Links

CDC's Tick Information Page

ODH's Tick Information Page



Upcoming Events

Quick Links


We Are Public Health

Public Health - Knox County Health DepartmentPublic Health is about focused community efforts to prevent disease, promote healthy lifestyles and protect the environment. It is what we do with our community partners to ensure conditions that support the health and well- being of our residents.


Contact Us

Monday-Friday   8:00 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.
Third Tuesday of every month, open until 6 p.m.

Phone: 740-392-2200    Fax: 740-392-9613

For public health emergencies during
non-business hours, call

740-397-3333, Ext.#1

Directions | Call | Email | Fax

11660 Upper Gilchrist Road
Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050