What to Do If Exposed

If you are exposed to a potentially rabid animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately. A health care provider will care for the wound and will assess the risk for rabies exposure. The following information will help your health care provider assess your risk:

  • the geographic location of the incident
  • the type of animal that was involved
  • how the exposure occurred (provoked or unprovoked)
  • the vaccination status of animal
  • whether the animal can be safely captured and tested for rabies

Steps taken by the health care practitioner will depend on the circumstances of the bite. Your health care practitioner should consult state or local health departments, veterinarians, or animal control officers to make an informed assessment of the incident and to request assistance. The important factor is that you seek care promptly after you are bitten by any animal.