New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.


Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid.

Rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy and ultimately death. Early symptoms of rabies in humans are nonspecific, consisting of fever, headache, and general malaise. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

This Rabies Frequently Asked Questions document answers the common questions about rabies including what it is, how people contract it, what the symptoms are, seeking medical attention, rabies vaccine, protecting your pet, how to deal with animal bites, and more.

Fox Rabies Information Pamphlet

This pamphlet provides information about fox rabies. It explains when you should call someone, who you call, what rabies is and how people get it, rabies exposure details, vaccinations, quick facts, oral baiting, and more.

Rabies Manual for Investigation

This Rabies Manual for Investigation provides all the information required to investigate rabies cases including a summary of the disease, mode of transmission, period of communicability, incubation period, diagnosis, prophylaxis, surveillance, control measures, and more.

Rabies State Regulations, National Rabies Compendium & Guidance

The Rabies Compendium 2016 by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians explains national animal rabies prevention and control best practices. The Introduction Letter details what has changed in the 2016 Rabies Compendium compared with the previous version. Veterinarians and animal control officers may refer to the Prospective Serologic Monitoring Guidance for further information on dogs and cats with a rabies exposure but uncertain rabies vaccination history.

NMAC 7.4.2 is the state law that governs animal control and rabies prevention requirements.

Activity in New Mexico

There have been no animal rabies cases in New Mexico in 2018.

There were 11 Animal Rabies Cases in New Mexico in 2017 in a bat from Dona Ana County, a bat and a skunk from Colfax County, a bat from Rio Arriba County, a skunk from Curry County, two bats from Santa Fe County, two bobcats from Hidalgo County, a fox from Lincoln County, and a fox from Roosevelt County.

There were four Animal Rabies Cases in New Mexico in 2016, all in skunks in De Baca County.

See the following news releases for more information:

New Mexico Case Data

Case data from previous years are archived below for historical reference.

Combined Animal Cases

Individual Animal Cases

Learn More

Please visit the CDC's Rabies Information and Rabies Publications pages for comprehensive information about rabies.