Community Health > Disease Prevention


Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the central nervous system. Any warm-blooded mammal, including humans, can get rabies; however, bats are the only animal in Washington state known to carry rabies.

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Rabies Activity

All dogs, cats, and ferrets in Washington must have up-to-date rabies vaccines.

Bats are the only known mammal to carry rabies in the state. Learn more about Rabies Activity in Washington State here.


There are several things you and your family can do to reduce your risk of rabies exposure.

  • Do not handle wild animals, especially bats.
  • Teach your children to never touch or handle bats, even dead ones. Have your children tell an adult if they find a bat at home, at school, or with a pet.
  • If you see a wild animal, leave it alone.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets.
  • Keep bats out of your living space.
  • Pets can get rabies if bitten by a rabid animal. Protect them and yourself by getting them vaccinated routinely. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are now required to be vaccinated in Washington. Consult your veterinarian for vaccine recommendations.

Report a Bite

If you or someone you know has been bitten by an animal in Whitman County, please complete the Whitman County Bite Report Form to report the bite.

Whitman County Bite Report Form

Information for Veterinary Offices

Program Contact

If you have any questions, please contact us at 509-397-6280 or email


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