Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Picture of a California myotis bat
Report any animal/human contact to bats, animal bites to humans, or wildlife bites to pets.

Reporting forms


What is rabies?


How is rabies transmitted to people/animals?


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

  • What to do if you find a bat pdf icon1

  • New document added November 30, 2018 For quick tips and additional rabies educational information that can be shared with family and friends, click here


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 15-20% of bats tested locally have rabies but less than 1% of healthy bats are thought to carry rabies. 

 Rabies Map - 2023
(click map for larger image)
Link to 2023 rabid bat map for LA County
Rabies maps by year:
  2007 2017
  2008 2018
  2009 2019
  2010  2020
  2011 2021
  2012 2022
  2013 2000-2011
  2014  2013-2022
rabid bats per month

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

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Rabies page

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rabies page

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

History of rabies in Los Angeles County

Laws related to rabies

CDC - Podcasts about rabies

Rabies training for animal shelter/animal care staff in Los Angeles County



Flyers, posters and brochures

Rabid bat educational outreach materials

Rabies tales from Los Angeles County

Bats and Rabies (CDC)

Rabies (CDPH)

What to do if you find a bat pdf icon1 New document added November 30, 2018



           Last updated: July 31, 2023

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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