Rabies is a virus that kills humans and animals.
We help to prevent rabies in humans and animals by working with animal control officers to
investigate animal bites to people.
We recommend immediate medical attention to someone who has been bitten by a potentially rabid animal.
We provide rabies immunizations (based on income).
We provide animal testing at no charge (when necessary) to determine if an animal is rabid.
Office of Epidemology
Center for Disease Control
Don’t panic . . . but don’t ignore the bite, either. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water. Washing thoroughly will greatly lessen the chance of infection. Give first aid as you would for any wound.
If possible, capture the animal under a large box or can, or at least identify it before it runs away. Don’t try to pick the animal up. Call an animal control or law enforcement officer to come get it.
If it’s a wild animal that must be killed, don’t damage the head. The brain will be needed to test for rabies. Don’t let anyone destroy wild animals at random just because there may be a rabies outbreak in your area. Only a few wild animals will be carrying rabies.
It's critically important that you notify your family doctor immediately and explain how you got
the bite. Your doctor will want to know if the animal has been captured. If necessary, your
doctor will give the anti-rabies treatment recommended by the United States Public Health
Service. Your doctor will also treat you for other possible infections that could be caused from
Report the bite to Environmental Health Services at your local health department. During weekend hours, contact the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department at (434) 972-6200, option 3.