Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Animal Bites and Rabies Surveillance in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 2021

Cheung, Kuan U (Steven) (2023) Animal Bites and Rabies Surveillance in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 2021. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

This is the latest version of this item.

[img] PDF
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 17 May 2025.

Download (609kB) | Request a Copy


Background: Healthcare providers are required by law to report animal bites to the
Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) due to potential transmission of rabies, a lethal viral pathogen transmitted by the saliva of infected mammals. ACHD staff investigate bite reports and advise victims regarding rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The goal of this analysis is to assess the burden of animal bites and the appropriateness of prophylaxis recommended to Allegheny County residents in 2021.

Methods: Data related to animal bites in Allegheny County during 2021 were exported from an Oracle database to a Microsoft Excel file. Data were then imported to SAS version 9.4 for cleaning and analysis. Tables and graphs were created in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. Population age group estimates were obtained from the US Census Bureau to calculate rates per 100,000 population. Population data from 2020 were used because estimates for 2021 were not available at the time of writing this report.

Results: In 2021, ACHD received 2,258 unique mammal bite reports. Most bites were attributed to dogs (75.7%) and cats (19.6%). Bats (0.8%) and rats (0.4%) were the two most common wild animal bites documented in the report. A total of 62 victims started rabies PEP (2.7%) and 21 victims (0.9%) completed the full course of rabies PEP. Of these 21, three completed the full course of PEP unnecessarily, while 17 completed the full course because the biting animal could not be observed or tested, and one victim was exposed to a rabid bat. Of the 41 who did not complete the full course, 20 victims stopped the PEP appropriately and 21 stopped inappropriately.

Conclusion: Animal bites in Allegheny County have increased by 27% during the past decade resulting in thousands of people seeking medical care. ACHD should continue to follow bite victims regarding appropriate rabies PEP. Although there have been no rabies cases in Allegheny County since 1984, animal bite surveillance programs and providing guidance to bite victims remain crucial public health strategies to prevent human rabies cases.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cheung, Kuan U (Steven)KUC18@pitt.eduKUC18
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancy W.epidnwg@pitt.eduepidnwgUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMertz, Kristenkristen.mertz@alleghenycounty.usUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberSaladino, Richard A.saladir@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 17 May 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 26 April 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 43
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal bites, rabies
Date Deposited: 17 May 2023 17:03
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 17:03

Available Versions of this Item

  • Animal Bites and Rabies Surveillance in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 2021. (deposited 17 May 2023 17:03) [Currently Displayed]


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item