Rabies

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted through the bite of an animal that has been infected with this disease. Rabies most commonly occurs in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Rabies infects the central nervous system resulting in degenerative brain disease (encephalopathy) and then death.

Symptoms
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • General malaise
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Slight to partial paralysis
  • Excitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Hypersalivation
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hydrophobia
Rabies Vaccine

Two methods of vaccination are currently available against the rabies virus.

The first is a vaccine regimen that provides immunity to rabies if administered after exposure to the disease.

The second is a pre-exposure vaccine that provides for protection before exposure to the disease. The latter is recommended for persons with an elevated risk such as veterinarians, animal handlers, some laboratory technicians, and those persons who are in frequent contact with animals known to carry the virus.

Others who should consider the pre-exposure vaccine are those international travelers who may not have immediate access to medical care in areas where they are traveling.

Ways to avoid rabies:
  • Get rabies vaccine prior to international travel when indicated
  • Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets
  • Keep pets in direct supervision so that they do not come into contact with wild animals
  • Call animal control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood
  • Enjoy wild animals from afar
  • Never adopt wild animals
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, both wild and domestic