Animal bites and Rabies

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.

 

Resources for  providers:

Providers and veterinarians must report possible human rabies exposure immediately (WAC 16-70 and WAC 246-101).

Refer to the Washington State Guidelines for Human Rabies Prevention for more information on potential exposure.

  • To determine whether a human exposure has occurred and the animal suspected of having rabies qualifies for testing, please contact the Clark County Public Health Communicable Disease Program at 564-397-8182.
  • If exposure is suspected, treatment can usually be deferred until test results are available.
  • CDC Rabies Vaccine Information Statement

 

Resources for veterinarians: