Rabies is a preventable viral disease commonly transmitted through saliva via the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system and ultimately leads to death. Early symptoms of rabies in people are fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper salivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms. Currently bats are the only animal that carries rabies in Washington State, other animals such as raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and foxes can also carry the disease. Less than 1% of bats in the wild are infected with rabies, however rabid bats have been found in almost every county in Washington State.  

For more information on rabies please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website.

If you would like to report an animal bite, please contact us at 509.460.4205 so that an investigation of the incident can be started.