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Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
vet@ph.lacounty.gov
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Rabies
 
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM RABIES
Report any

Animal/human contact to bats
Animal bites to humans
Wildlife bites to pets

Reporting forms

 

RABIES FACT SHEET

  

What is rabies?

  • It is a virus that causes diseases in both people and animals

  • Any mammal can get rabies - the list is long and includes:

    • Bats, dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, opossums, coyotes, foxes, cattle, horses, and many more

    • In Los Angeles County, the only known animals to routinely carry rabies are BATS

    • In other parts of the USA and the world, other animals can carry rabies

    • Click here to learn more about rabies in animals

  • Rabies is usually deadly if medical attention is not taken rapidly (post-exposure prophylaxis)

  

How is rabies transmitted to people/animals?

  • Rabies is almost always transmitted through a bite of an animal with the disease (rabid)

  • Click here to learn more about rabies transmission

  

What are symptoms of rabies?

  • Rabies affects the nervous system of infected animals and people

  • The disease is progressive and, once symptoms start, can rapidly cause death from respiratory failure

  • In people: initially fever, weakness, headache; progressing to tingling sensation, anxiety, agitation, abnormal behavior, hallucinations,  difficulty swallowing, coma, death

  • In animals: initially non-specific signs (vomiting, respiratory distress) progressing into neurologic signs - circling, difficulties walking, behavior change, aggression, paralysis, hydrophobia (fear of water), death

  

What is the treatment for rabies?

  • Once symptoms occur, there is no cure

  • After a bite from a suspected rabid animals, contact your physician immediately to receive Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

    • PEP is a series of rabies vaccinations along with an injection of antibodies - it is NOT given in the belly

    • If given as soon as possible after exposure to rabies, PEP can effectively prevent rabies from entering the nervous system

  • Pets that have been exposed to rabies (for example from a bite by a potentially rabid animal) must be quarantined whether they are vaccinated against rabies or not

  

What should I do to protect myself from rabies?

  • Never touch a bat with bare hands - call Animal Control if you find a bat in your house or on the ground

  • Seek medical care immediately if you are bitten by an animal - animal bites to people are reportable to our office

  • Keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccines

    • This includes older pets and indoor only cats (rabid bats have been found inside homes)

    • If bitten by wildlife, unvaccinated pets must be quarantined for 6 months - vaccinated pets must be quarantined for 30 days only

  

RABIES DATA IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

 

Rabies in bats has increased in the past few years in Los Angeles County. The reason behind this increase remains unknown. About 20% of bats tested locally have rabies but less than 1% of healthy bats are thought to carry rabies. 

 

 

 Current Rabies Map: 2014

      (click for larger image)

 

 

Previous rabies maps:

2013                   2009          

2012                   2008

2011                   2007

2010                   2004-2013

 

Data based on passive reporting. Reports of sick bats in public or private areas, or bat incidents involving people or animals, are made to local Animal Control agencies. Bats are then collected and tested for rabies.

 

Los Angeles County began testing bats for rabies in 1961. The data above includes rabid bats from Pasadena and Long Beach.

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Rabies in California - California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Rabies page

 

Rabies in the US - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rabies page

 

For physicians - Los Angeles County Department of Public Health - Acute Communicable Disease Control Rabies page

 

Other useful information

History of rabies in Los Angeles County

Bats in Los Angeles County

Laws related to rabies

CDC - Podcasts about rabies

 

Flyers and brochures

Rabies tales from Los Angeles County

Bats and Rabies (CDC)

Rabies (CDPH)

Last updated: 12/10/2014

 
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