Animal Bites and Bats

Animal bites, even when minor, can become infected and spread bacteria or viruses such as rabies and tetanus to other parts of the body. Whether the bite is from a family pet or an animal that is wild, bites can carry disease and must be reported.

Animal bite incidents can range from an actual physical bite/scratch or a potential exposure to a rabid animal, such as a bat being found in a room where individuals were sleeping.


Nurses from our Communicable Disease Program provide investigation, information, and case management for individuals with animal bites including bat exposure.

The Communicable Disease Unit works with local Animal Control to ensure that either the animal(s) and/or human(s) involved with an animal bite incident were not exposed to rabies.

Animal Bite Testing:

The health department must approve any animal specimen for rabies testing.  Animal specimens will be processed and brought to the health department through a veterinarian or animal control officer.  The health department does not accept animal specimens brought in by private residents. Please call us at 517-264-5233 to coordinate testing.

Animal Bite Reporting:

Animal bites must be reported to the Health Department within 24 hours of the incident, reports are made through law enforcement and/ or Hospitals, Urgent Care sites and Health Care Providers. Health care providers must fill out the Animal Bite Reporting Form and fax it to us at 517-264-0790 within 24 hours of the incident.