Rats, Bats, Birds, and Bugs

This program includes control of illness transmission from critters to humans. Primary concern are bats, rats, certain insects, dogs, and cats. If you have concerns about becoming ill from any of those critters, contact our office for further information at 360-867-2667.

  • Animal Bites
    • Pets are the most common cause of bites, with dog bites occurring most often. Cat bites may have a higher chance of infection (due to their longer, sharper teeth, which can produce deeper puncture wounds). Stray animals and wild animals, such as skunks, raccoons, and bats, also bite thousands of people each year.

      Be sure your animals are current with rabies vaccinations. For additional information, see Animal Bites, National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus.

      Dog Growling.jpg

  • Bats
    • Most of the recent human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus from bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help you protect yourself, your family, and your pets.

      Avoid rabies risk by not handling bats and other wild animals. For additional information, see Bats and Rabies, National Center for Infectious Diseases.


  • Mice and Rats
    • Wild mice and rats can spread disease (hantavirus), destroy things in our homes and start fires by chewing electric wires. Find out how to avoid problems by keeping rodents out of your home and work environment. For more information, see Rodent Prevention.​

      Hantaviruses are a group of viruses that are carried by rodents. One of these, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), although rare, can be extremely serious. Humans can contract the disease when they come into contact with infected rodents or their urine and droppings. Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection.

      Hantavirus - WA State Department of Health fact sheet
      Rodent Control and Hantavirus - Dr. Yu article on cleanup of rat or mouse infested areas

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  • West Nile Virus and Mosquitos
    • We no longer track or test dead birds for West Nile Virus.

      West Nile virus (WNV) is a serious illness that can affect people, horses, certain types of birds, and other animals. West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, however, less than 1% of mosquitoes are infected with the virus. Of the people who get infected, less than 1% develop a severe illness, which can sometimes be fatal.

      In 1999, WNV first appeared in the U.S. in New York. Since that time, it has spread rapidly throughout the country. In 2002, the virus was found for the first time in birds and horses in Washington. Since 2009, almost all of the West Nile Virus detections have been in Eastern Washington, particularly Benton, Franklin, Grant, and Yakima Counties. Pierce County mosquito samples in 2018 were positive for WNV and the area is being monitored to see how wide-spread WNV-positive mosquitoes are. This effort includes mosquito monitoring in Thurston County.

      West Nile Virus Activity in Washington

      West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds that have high levels of WNV in their blood. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit WNV when they feed on humans or other animals. There have been about a dozen human cases in Washington each year since 2009, most acquired in Eastern Washington.

      For more detailed information on this virus please go to Washington State (DOH) West Nile Virus Information and Prevention.


Pests (WA DOH)
Rabies Information (WA DOH)
Hanta Virus (WA DOH)
Tick Bites (CDC)
West Nile Virus (CDC)
Exploring West Nile Virus (USGS)

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Animal Bites, Bat Testing,
Rodent Questions and
Hanta and West Nile Virus

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