Veterinary Public Health


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

Animal/human contact to bats
Animal bites to humans
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

  

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 - 20182018 Los Angeles County rabid bat map - Icon size
(click map for larger image)
1961-2017 Graph of rabid bats per year Los Angeles County
Rabies maps by year:
  2007 2016
  2008 2017
  2009 2018
  2010  2000-2011
  2011 2004-2013
  2012 2011-2015
  2013  
  2014   
  2015  
2018 Graph of number of rabid bats detected per month in Los Angeles County

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 pdf icon

CDC - Podcasts about rabies

 

Flyers and brochures

Rabies tales from Los Angeles County

Bats and Rabies (CDC)

Rabies (CDPH)

 

           Last updated: September 7, 2018

 
 
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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