How does a person get exposed to rabies? 
The rabies virus can be found in the saliva of infected animals and most often is spread via a bite from an infected animal. Infected saliva can also get in a person's eyes, nose, mouth or an open sore or wound.

How long will it take to develop rabies after an exposure or bite? 
It may take four to eight weeks up to even a year before a human symptoms of rabies. Remember, rabies is preventable, but once symptoms are present is 100% fatal.

What do I do if an animal bites me?

  • Make note of what animal bit you, what happened, and where the animal went.
  • Immediately wash the wound with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. Washing the wound thoroughly helps reduce the likelihood of rabies and other bacterial infection.
  • Contact your physician or go to your local emergency room. Bite wounds can be a very serious injury regardless of rabies risk.
  • Report the bite incident to Larimer Humane Society Animal Control at 970-226-3647 ext 7 and to your local health department.

What if I wake up and find a bat in the house?

  • Trap the bat in one room and contact Larimer Humane Society Animal Control.
  • Use leather gloves and a box or coffee can and set it over the bat. Use lid to move the bat into the container. Place lid on container and hold for pick up by Animal Control. Do not touch the bat with bare hands!
  • If you are unable to locate the bat or the bat escapes, please contact Larimer County Health Department (970-498-6775) to evaluate the situation and for recommendations for rabies post exposure treatment.
  • The majority of the human cases of rabies in the United States can be associated with a history of waking up with a bat in the bedroom and releasing it without reporting the bat or receive post exposure treatment.

What is the post exposure treatment for humans? 
If you are bitten or otherwise exposed to a rabid animal you can be vaccinated against rabies. This vaccine is called rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Call your doctor without delay and report the incident to your the health department.

Treatment should start soon after exposure. Talk to your provider or call us if you have questions.  
Treatment for rabies usually takes 4 visits, unless the person has been vaccinated previously for rabies.

Contact Health

The Health Department has three locations:

Fort Collins office
1525 Blue Spruce Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 498-6700
Fax: (970) 498-6772

Loveland office
200 Peridot Avenue
Loveland, CO 80537
(970) 619-4580
Fax: (970) 619-4589

Estes Park office
1601 Brodie Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517
(970) 577-2050
Fax: (970) 577-2060