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Rabies

Prevention

The Arizona Department of Health Services recommends the following precautions to avoid exposure to rabies:

  • Keep people and pets away from wild animals.
  • Never leave pet food in your yard because it will attract wild animals.
  • Do not pick up, touch, or feed wild or unfamiliar animals, especially sick or wounded ones.
  • If you have been bitten or scratched, or had contact with an animal, wash the wound or area well with soap and water, and report it immediately to animal control or health officials.
  • Do not "rescue" abandoned young wild animals.
  • Vaccinate all dogs and cats against rabies.
  • Take precautions when camping, hunting or fishing. Avoid sleeping on the open ground without the protection of a closed tent or camper.
  • Keep pets on a leash or in a fenced yard.
  • Wear impermeable gloves when skinning carcasses.
  • Do not disturb roosting bats.
  • If you find a bat on the ground, don't touch it. Place a box over the bat to contain it. Try to preserve the bat so it is intact for testing at a laboratory. Report the bat and its location to animal control or health officials.
  • Teach children not to handle or touch sick or injured animals including bats.
  • Report all animal bites to animal control or health officials.

What should I do if an animal bites me?

  1. Immediately wash the bite wound with soap and water.
  2. If the wound requires medical treatment, call your family doctor.
  3. Try to capture the animal without damaging its head or risking further exposure.
  4. Notify animal control or health officials.
    • If the animal is a dog, cat, or livestock animal, they will place it under 10-14 day observation. If it remains healthy for that period, no risk of rabies transmission exists.
    • If a bat, skunk, fox, coyote, or other wild animal bites you, the animal should be presumed rabid until laboratory testing is complete.
    • If the animal is not captured, you will need to consult your doctor, and the local health department about whether you need to start anti-rabies preventative treatment.

Human Rabies Prevention - United States, 2008