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.
In Washington, bats are the most common mammal affected by rabies and 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 should I do if I find a bat in my living space?
- Do not touch the bat with bare hands! Close the room's doors and windows. Wait until the bat lands on the floor or a wall. Wearing leather or other thick gloves, capture the bat in a can or box without touching it. Seal the container. Helpful resources for how to safely capture a bat in your home: Instructions for safely capturing bats for rabies testing and Public Health-Seattle & King County's video.
- Call Clark County Public Health. We will help you determine whether any people or pets in your home 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.
Resources for veterinarians and providers:
- Assessment of Rabies Exposures and Guidance on Rabies PEP
- Guide for Veterinary Offices - Handling Calls about Bat Encounters
- To determine whether a human exposure has occurred and the animal suspected of rabies qualifies for testing, please contact the Clark County Public Health Communicable Disease Program at 564.397.8182