Rabies is an acute viral disease of animals that can affect man, usually as a result of a rabid animal bite.  Human clinical rabies has a variable incubation period followed by a neurological illness that can lead to death.

The disease progresses from a nonspecific prodromal phase to paresis (weakness) or paralysis; spasms of swallowing muscles can be stimulated by the sight, sound, or perception of water (hydrophobia); delirium and convulsions can develop, followed by coma and death.

Modes of Transmission

The infection may be transmitted by:

  • bite/scratch of an infected animal.
  • a scratch, abrasion or open wound coming in contact with infectious material (i.e. saliva of an infected animal)
  • mucous membranes coming in contact with infectious material
  • airborne route (there are a few documented cases of rabies being contracted in caves where bats reside and in laboratories that work with the virus).
  • human-to-human contact (e.g. a corneal transplant from an unknown infected individual).

Tips of prevention

Be a responsible pet owner

  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogscats andferrets. This requirement is important not only to keep your pets from getting rabies, but also to provide a barrier of protection to you, if your animal is bitten by a rabid wild animal.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by awild animalseek veterinary assistance for the animalimmediately.
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove anystray animals from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the disease.

Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals

  • Enjoy wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes) from afar. Do not handlefeed, or unintentionally attract wild animalswith open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.