County of Marin Health and Human Services

Rabies Information

Rabies is a preventable viral disease that is almost always fatal to humans and animals once symptoms develop. Humans are typically exposed to the virus through the bite of a rabid animal. Although rare, the virus can also be transmitted if the saliva of a rabid animal gets into a fresh scratch or break in your skin, or is introduced to your mucous membranes (e.g., eyes, mouth, or nose).

Bats test positive for rabies more frequently than any other animal in Marin County. Bites and scratches from bats are extremely small and may not be noticeable. Even sleeping in the same room as a bat may present a risk.

Bites or scratches from wild mammals (e.g., skunks, raccoons, coyotes, or foxes) are also considered high-risk exposures.

If you were bitten or scratched by an animal that is susceptible to rabies, or have had direct contact with a bat, wash the wound and/or area thoroughly with soap and warm water and consult your health care provider as soon as possible. Your health care provider will decide if you need post-exposure treatment, possibly in consultation with the local health department. If indicated, this treatment should begin as soon as possible.