Report Animal Bites to Public Health
Washtenaw County Public Health reminds residents to contact us about animal bites or other close contact with animals. Wild or unvaccinated animals may spread rabies. Public Health will provide recommendations about rabies risk and the need for post-exposure vaccination.
The first rabid animal in Washtenaw County for 2014 was reported on June 2: a bat. Testing results from prior years are available on our Animal Bites and Rabies page.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a virus usually spread from animal to animal. People can become infected though animal bites or close contact. The rabies vaccine must be given after direct contact with a sick animal to prevent human illness and death.
Bats and skunks are among the animals known to carry rabies in this area. Use caution if you have any contact with these animals or other animals that may not be vaccinated against rabies (including stray animals or feral cats).
If you find a bat in your home or sleeping area, DO NOT let it go before talking to us about your rabies risk. Please call 734-544-6700 during business hours.
- Make sure dogs and cats are current on their rabies vaccinations. Unvaccinated pets that have contact with rabid animals cannot be treated. Vaccinated pets can get a rabies booster to prevent illness and death.
- Do not approach or touch wild animals. Sick animals may display strange behavior, such as approaching people or acting friendly. Use extreme caution with any animal that may not be vaccinated against rabies. Tell children to stay away from animals they do not know – even if the animal or animals appear friendly.
- Avoid attracting wild animals. Do not leave pet dishes outside or provide other sources of food, water or shelter. This may attract ill animals.
- Report animal bites to Washtenaw County Public Health. Animal bites and other close contact should always be reviewed by Public Health. If bitten, wash the wound with soap and water. Seek medical attention if necessary. Public Health will determine if the post-exposure rabies vaccination is needed. Call 734-544-6700 during business hours. Health care providers should fill out the Bite Report Form and fax it to (734) 544-6706.
For instructions about handling bats safely, visit our Animal Bites and Rabies page.