Rabies/Animal Bites and Exposures

​What You Should Know

  • Exposure to an unknown domestic animal (cat, dog, ferret) or wild animal (raccoon, bat or fox) can carry a risk of rabies, a FATAL disease caused by a virus.
  • Exposure can occur from direct contact--a bite or scratch, or from indirect contact--usually through the animal's saliva, open wound or mucous membrane.
  • If a human has been exposed to a wild or domestic animal, they should:
    1. Immediately and thoroughly wash and flush the wound with soap and water for several minutes and GET PROMPT MEDICAL ATTENTION.
    2. If the animal is a domestic-owned animal, get the owner's name, address, and telephone number.
    3. Report the incident immediately to the Prince George's County Police Department or to your local police department.
    4. If the animal is a wild or stray animal, try to trap the animal without risking any further exposure and contact the Animal Management Division to have the animal picked up.
    5. In some instances, rabies shots (post-exposure treatment) may be indicated​​.
  • ​​​​If a pet has been exposed to a wild or domestic animal, the owner sh​ould:
    1. Wear gloves before handling the pet to prevent indirect exposure to rabies and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
    2. Contact your veterinarian if the pet needs medical attention and alert them that your pet has had contact with another animal so they can take proper precautions
    3. Secure the pet away from other animals and people.
    4. If the other animal is wild or stray, try to trap the animal without risking any further exposure, and contact the Animal Management Division to have the animal picked up Immediately report the incident to the Animal Management Division and the Health Department at the telephone numbers listed below.

Rabies Pre-Exposure Shots

If you have frequent contact with potentially rabid animals or you will be spending time in a foreign country where rabies is common, you may want to consider getting this series of three shots for protection.

Exposure to Rabies Can Be Prevented

  • Do not approach, handle, or feed wild or stray animals
  • Vaccinate all dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies and keep the vaccinations up-to-date
  • Do not leave pets outside unattended or allow them to roam free
  • Feed pets indoors and tightly cover outdoor garbage cans
  • Teach children never to approach wild animals or animals that they do not know
  • Prevent bats from entering the home by using window screens and chimney caps and by closing any openings in your attic, basement, porch, or garage
  • Wear gloves when handling a pet if it has been in a fight with another animal; isolate it from people and other animals

Important Telephone Numbers

Health Department (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)​ (301) 583-3750
  (after hours) (240) 508-5774
Animal Management Division (Pickup of captured wild or stray animals) (301) 780-7200
Police (Report human exposure to a wild or domestic animal) (301) 333-4000