Rabies Disease & Vaccination

About Rabies

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that can infect all mammals (warm-blooded animals) including humans. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.

How Do You Get Rabies?

Anyone can get rabies after exposure to a rabid animal. Rabies is spread when the virus from the animal’s saliva or brain tissue gets through a person’s skin via bites or contact with wounds or contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.

How Can Rabies Be Prevented? 

  • Vaccinate and confine your pets
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets
  • Report sick or injured wildlife 
  • Do not feed pets outside or leave food outside
  • Keep trash containers securely closed and dispose of trash promptly
  • Speak with your children and family about rabies
  • Do not feed, touch, or approach any wildlife


For disease information and bat exposure recommendations, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health rabies resources.

For local disease information, please contact the Johnson County Public Health Department 319.356.6040 or visit the Johnson County Public Health website

Rabies Vaccination Required

All cats and dogs four months and older must be vaccinated against rabies. Save your current rabies certificate for licensing.

If your dog or cat is found running at large or is involved in an incident requiring the assistance of Animal Control, proof of current rabies vaccination and City pet license must be shown. Failure to provide a certificate of vaccination may result with a City citation or impoundment of the animal.