In China, we have witnessed an increasing incidence of rabies in recent years and the number of deaths ranked first among the 39 notifiable infectious diseases. We conducted a case–control study to identify risk factors for human rabies infection and disease to recommend prevention and treatment among people exposed to rabies. Exposure site, pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis were significantly associated with rabies infection. Exposure site at upper limb and trunk or at lower limb were at lower risk as compared with head-exposed patients. The OR was 0.09(95% CI: 0.009–0.93) and 0.01(95% CI: 0.001–0.115) respectively. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (OR = 0.05, 95% CI: 0.03–0.11) and post-exposure prophylaxis (OR = 0.02, 95% CI: 0.01–0.40) were both protective factors as compared with no prophylaxis. For patients who had post-exposure prophylaxis, dose for the first injection and immunity procedure were significantly associated with rabies infection.