Rabies is a rare, but very serious disease, and is almost always fatal to humans and domestic animals if not treated before symptoms appear.
Rabies occurs throughout the United States, primarily in wildlife. Since 2010 Sonoma County has had 15 positive animals: 13 bats, 1 fox, and 1 domestic cat. These animals have been widely distributed across the county. This is similar to previous years and reflects the ongoing presence of rabies in wildlife statewide.
1. Vaccinate all domestic cats and dogs age 4 months and older, as required by law in Sonoma County. Low-cost vaccinations are available:
2. Admire wildlife from afar: do not touch or handle wild animals.
Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal when the animal bites a person or another animal, or when the saliva of the rabid animal gets into a break in the skin, or into the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Bats are, by far, the most common carriers of rabies in Sonoma County, followed by skunks, foxes, raccoons, and unvaccinated domestic animals.
Rabies is highly preventable if swift action is taken. If a person has been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal or an animal suspected of having rabies, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and then seek medical attention. Once symptoms occur, rabies is almost always fatal.
Contact Sonoma County Disease Control immediately at (707) 565-4567.
Contact Sonoma County Animal Control immediately at (707) 565-7100.
Contact Sonoma County Animal Care and Control at (707) 565-7100.
For additional information:
Download this 8.5" x 14" brochure (pdf).