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Background: Animal bites are potentially harmful for people. The prophylaxis approach is effective and safe, however, it is expensive and sometimes may be used without clear indication. Prophylaxis programs depend on local epidemiology. The aim of this study was to survey the animal bites and rabies epidemiology in northern Iran. Patients and methods: We performed a descriptive study on all animal bites and rabies in the Mazandaran Province during 2001 to 2005. Initial data including age, sex, site of bite, incidence, type of animal, geographical distribution, number of vaccinations and death by rabies were gathered and analyzed by SPSS soft ware. Results: Annual frequency of animal bites was between 3,174 and 4,670 in the Mazandaran Province. One hundred sixty bites per 100,000 persons occur annually, with a cost of approximately US $0.5 million in health care expenditures and loss of income. Twenty thousand animal bites occurred during the year of 2001 to 2005. Behshar, with 302.88 cases per 100,000 persons was the most prevalent city. We found that the majority of bites are from dogs (84.87%), especially stray dogs. Men are frequently bitten by dogs (79.62%), while adolescence is the most frequent victims of dog bites, especially in rural areas. Dog bites resulted in 2 deaths, both of which had bites on their faces. Conclusion: Exposure to dogs, especially stray dogs in Mazandaran Province, reported the majority of cases of human bites and post-exposure prophylaxis. © 2009 IDTMRC, Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center.