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Rabies Surveillance
Rabies Information Quick Links

Rabies information is provided on this webpage through the quick links to downloadable PDFs available by clicking on each one, or you can scroll down this webpage which contains live links within the text. 

When You Should Seek Medical Attention

How You Can Prevent Rabies in Animals and People

Rabies Information for Veterinarians

Rabies Information for Healthcare Providers

Rabies Information for Local Health Departments

Rabies Information for Animal Control, Animal Shelters, and Law Enforcement

Rabies Information for Wildlife Professionals

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2020

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2019

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2018

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2017

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2016

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2015

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2014

Animal Rabies Testing Data for 2013

Rabies Information

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals (animals with hair, give birth to live babies, and produce milk). This disease is usually transmitted to people and other animals through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus infects the central nervous system and ultimately causes disease in the brain and death. Although rabies almost always causes death it can be prevented in people through prompt treatment with rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.

Wild mammals are the most important source of infection for both humans and animals in the United States. In Kansas, skunks are the main animal that carries rabies and the virus is considered to be present in all Kansas counties.  Other wild animals in Kansas that can have rabies include bats, foxes, coyotes, however any mammal can have rabies. Since pets, such as dogs and cats, can be infected with rabies, it is important to vaccinate your pets against rabies. In Kansas cats, cows, dogs, and horses have tested positive for rabies.

Rabies infects the central nervous system and causes inflammation of the brain. This can cause many different signs of illness in animals including; behavior changes, refusal to eat or drink (including fear of water), difficulty walking, paralysis, and death. Behavior changes include friendly animals becoming shy, withdrawn, or suddenly aggressive. Wild animals may appear unusually tame or visibly sick. Never approach a wild animal especially one that acts sick or is injured. 

For more information about rabies click on Center for Disease Control and Prevention Rabies Website.

For questions about rabies in Kansas, please contact the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response Section at or 1-877-427-7317. 

When You Should Seek Medical Attention!

Bats are the primary cause of rabies in people in the United States!

  • The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva or brain/nervous system tissue. You can only get rabies by coming in contact with these specific bodily excretions and tissues.
  • So it is important to know that rabies exposure is a medical urgency, but not an emergency. Decisions on post-exposure prophylaxis should not be delayed.
  • Wash any wounds immediately because one of the most effective ways to decrease the chance for infection is to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Be sure to see your healthcare provider for any trauma due to an animal attack. 
  • If you wake up in a room with a bat present, even if you don't see a bite or scratch, seek medical attention.
  • If it is possible to carefully trap the bat for testing, please try to do so and don't release it. That way it can be identified and tested. Bats can enter a home through an opening as small as 1/2 inch. Finding out how it got inside can help you to stop anymore from getting in the home. It is recommended that you contact a professional with experience keeping bats out.
  • If you would like more information about keeping bats out, click on Bat Conservation International Excluding Bats.
  • The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism Nuisance Wildlife Damage program (NWDC) is designed to help people find someone with knowledge about wildlife control. A list of NWDC permit holders is available by clicking on KDWPT website
  • You should see your healthcare provider if you have had any contact with a bat. Not all bats have rabies but precautions should be taken.


How You Can Prevent Rabies in Animals and People
  • Have your veterinarian vaccinate all dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and valuable breeding livestock (cattle and sheep) against rabies. Your pets and other domestic animals can be infected when they are bitten by rabid wild animals. Pets are vaccinated by your veterinarian to prevent them from acquiring the disease from wildlife, and thereby transmitting it to humans. 
  • If your animal is bitten by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian for advice.
  • DO NOT handle or feed wild animals. You should not try to nurse sick wild animals back to health either.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance. 
  • In Kansas, cities and some counties maintain rabies vaccine laws. Contact your City or County Clerk's office to learn what rabies vaccine requirements apply to you where you live.
  • It is illegal in Kansas to keep or sell skunks, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes as pets. For more information about this, please click on Kansas Administrative Regulation on Rabies Control in Wildlife Mammals (K.A.R.28-1-14)
Information for Veterinarians
  • The Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory conducts animal rabies testing. Laboratory-confirmed rabid animals are immediately reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Infectious disease Epidemiology and Response section. A follow-up investigation is conducted for each case and includes evaluation of people and animals in contact with the rabid animal to determine if rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is needed.
  • Call the KSU Rabies Lab prior to submission of samples at 785-532-4483.
  • Report suspect, and confirmed, rabid animals immediately to KDHE at 1-877-427-7317. A trained epidemiologist is available 24 hours a day to provide you with assistance.
  • The local health officer makes the determination on the location of either the 10 day observation of a dog or cat that bites a human or the quarantine location of a pet (or other animal) that has been bitten by a rabid animal. This information can be found in Kansas Administrative Regulation on Rabies Control (K.A.R.28-1-13)
  • A list of rabies vaccines licensed and marketed in the United States can be found in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control (2016) published by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.
Information for Healthcare Providers

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) or your local health department can provide rabies post-exposure prophylaxis recommendations based on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Human Rabies Prevention Guidelines.

Exposure to rabies is medically urgent, but not an emergency. Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis can be delayed a few days until the animal can be tested for rabies or to allow animal control to find the animal and hold it for rabies observation.

Patients without previous rabies vaccine should receive Rabies Immune Globulin immediately or within 7 days of the fist vaccine dose. 

You can call KDHE 24 hours a day for assistance at 1-877-427-7317.


Information for Local Health Departments
  • The Rabies Disease Investigation Guidelines, published by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, contains all the information you need to conduct a rabies or animal bite investigation. The KDHE Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response section can provide assistance 24 hours a day at 1-877-427-7317.
  • The Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory submits rabies test results for all animals tested in Kansas daily through electronic laboratory reporting into EpiTrax. The local health department will be called directly by KDHE for all rabies positive, unsuitable, or indeterminate results.
  • Call the veterinarian and the animal owners immediately. Conduct a rabies exposure risk assessment for all people and animals that may have had contact with the rabid animal at least ten days prior to the onset of any clinical signs. 
Information for Animal Control, Animal Shelters, and Law Enforcement
  • Please review your protocol for bite reporting, confinement of animals for observation, and quarantine. It is also important to work with the local health department.
  • Animal control officers, veterinarians, and others who are frequently exposed to animals that might have rabies should receive rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis.
  • Educate officers and staff on animal behavior, especially dog body language. Hands on training with an expert in dog training or behavior is ideal.
  • A free webinar is available through KS-TRAIN  for animal shelters. The training course number is 1067321 and is called Rabies: What Animal Shelters Need to Know. This hour long presentation will cover basic information about rabies, transmission, animal bite response, investigation procedures by local health departments, and current rabies control guidelines for Kansas. 
Wildlife Professionals including Biologists, Rescue Organizations, Pest Control, Hunters, and Trappers
  • Wildlife are the most commonly diagnosed rabid animal in the United States. Those with frequent contact with animals that might have rabies including (but not limited to) bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes should receive rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • If someone contacts you about a bat in their dwelling, contact the local health department. They can help determine if there was any potential exposure to the bat and coordinate testing of the bat for rabies. 
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