What is rabies?
Rabies is a fatal viral disease, but is preventable. For more information on rabies, how to protect yourself and your pets visit the CDC rabies webpage. All mammals can get rabies, but in Washington state bats are the most common mammal affected by rabies. It's extremely rare in other animals. Data on annual rabies activity in Washington state is available on the Washington State Department of Health website.
What to do if you suspect a bat has bitten, scratched, or had direct contact with you?
- Do not touch the bat with bare hands! Ensure you are not in an area where exposure can continue and close the doors and windows to the room where the bat is located if possible.
- Call Clark County Public Health. We will help you determine whether any people or pets may have been exposed and can arrange to test the bat for rabies, if needed. If you know for certain you have been bitten or scratched by a bat, seek medical attention immediately.
- If you are instructed to capture the bat, follow instructions for Safely Capturing Bats for Rabies Testing.
What to do if your pet has an exposure to a bat?
- Contact your veterinarian if you think your pet has had exposure to a bat. Your vet can help evaluate the exposure and your pets rabies vaccination status.
What to do if your pet has an exposure to a wild animal?
- Animal to animal bites/exposures can be directly reported to Animal Control at: 564-397-2488.
- Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet requires medical attention or signs suggestive of rabies develop.
For Providers and Veterinarians:
When to report to Public Health:
- Providers and veterinarians must report possible human rabies exposure immediately (WAC 16-70 and WAC 246-101).
- Providers also need to report any time PEP for rabies is recommended.
Resources for assessing exposure and making PEP recommendations:
- The “Assessment of Rabies Exposures from Animal Contact and Guidance on Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis” is a great resources for determining if an exposure occurred and when to recommend rabies PEP.
- For overseas exposures, refer to CDC’s Rabies Status: Assessment by Country.
- To determine if a captured animal suspected of having rabies qualifies for testing, please contact the Clark County Public Health Communicable Disease Program at 564-397-8182.
- CDC Rabies Vaccine Information Statement
Resources for veterinarians:
- Guide for Veterinary Offices - Handling Calls about Bat Encounters.
- The Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016 is a great resources for pre-exposure and post-exposure management of animals.