[BOONE, NC] – Notice is hereby given that the Appalachian District Health Department (Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga Counties) Board of Health will consider the adoption of a change to the RULES FOR THE CONTROL OF RABIES WITHIN ALLEGHANY, ASHE AND WATAUGA COUNTIES on November 15th, 2016. The proposed effective date of this change to the existing General Statue rules is upon adoption by the Appalachian District Health Department Board of Health. Copies of the proposed rules are available as follows:
At the each County Clerk to the Board,
On the Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) website: apphealthcare.com,
At the Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare).
This proposed change is in relation to the implementation of the new national guidance for postexposure management of dogs and cats published March 1, 2016 by the National Association of Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016 (http://www.nasphv.org/Documents/NASPHVRabiesCompendium.pdf).
The North Carolina Division of Public Health (DPH) proposed legislation for the 2016 short session of the General Assembly that would have amended G.S.130A-197 to adopt by reference the postexposure management control measures for dogs and cats in the 2016 NASPHV rabies compendium. Unfortunately, the legislative proposal was never introduced as a bill during the 2016 short session. It is a public health legislative priority to align NC G.S. with the 2016 compendium which would then make the proposed local rule obsolete if adopted. Additionally, if this rule is adopted by the Board of Health, then this will be the only current local rule.
Adoption of the 2016 Rabies Compendium postexposure management control measures for dogs and cats as a Board of Health rule would provide the legal authority for local health directors to implement the new rabies control measures and would align North Carolina’s control measures with current national recommendations and guidance.
The new control measures would likely result in fewer dogs and cats euthanized, shorter quarantine periods (4 months rather than 6 months) and allow for more 45-day owner (at-home) observations for lapsed animals with appropriate documentation. These changes represent significant emotional and (estimated) financial benefits to animal owners (Table 1). If managed and monitored carefully by local health departments, these control measures will maintain the safety of public health in North Carolina.
Table 1. 2016 Rabies Compendium Changes for Postexposure Management of Dogs and Cats by Vaccination Status: A Comparison to § 130A-197 and Projected Fiscal Impact to Pet Owners (NC DHHS)