Listen to Rabies Interview with Angie

What is rabies?

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system caused by a virus and can occur in humans and animals. In humans, rabies usually results from exposure to an animal with rabies. Rabies in humans is fatal almost 100% of the time.

What is an exposure to rabies?

There are two types of exposure (bite and non-bite). A bite is any puncture of the skin by teeth. A non-bite exposure occurs when saliva, brain tissue, or spinal fluid from an animal with rabies enters any scratch, abrasion, open wound, eyes, or the mouth.

How is rabies spread?

Rabies virus is spread to people from the saliva of infected animals; usually through a bite. Animals most likely to transmit rabies in the United States include bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. All domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses, and cattle can also be infected.

What should you do if you are exposed to a possible rabid animal?

Immediately wash all bite wounds and scratches thoroughly with soap and water. Contact Animal Control or the Bear River Health Department and seek medical attention.  If it is established that an exposure or possible exposure has taken place, the Instacare or ED will start you on a series of Rabies vaccine.  If the animal is available for testing, Animal Control or the Health Department will advise you on how to get the specimen tested.  DO NOT freeze the specimens.

How can rabies be prevented?

Vaccination of dogs and cats against rabies is the best way to reduce human exposure and follow these tips:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals, and do not keep wild animals as pets. Control of stray animals can decrease both animal and human exposures to rabies.
  • Report any animals which have contact with an animal that might have rabies to the local animal control agency.
  • Anyone who has contact with an animal that might be rabid should contact the local or state health department.

Where can I get my pet vaccinated and why is it important?

Your veterinarian’s office or the Humane Society can vaccinate your pet against Rabies.  This protects them from contracting or spreading Rabies.