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Ocean County Health Department

Facts about RABIES

What is Rabies?
Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord. If rabies is left untreated it may lead to death.

Who gets Rabies?
Animals and humans can get rabies. The most common wild animals that are reservoirs and can directly or indirectly transmit rabies include raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, groundhogs and bats. The most common domestic animals affected are cats, cattle, and dogs.
*Birds, snakes and fish do not carry rabies*

How does a person get Rabies?
The rabies virus is spread through saliva, usually from the bite of an infected animal.
**The rabies virus is not spread through contact with urine, feces, or blood of an infected mammal**

Signs of rabies in animals:
Animals in the early stage of rabies may not have any signs, although they can still infect you if they bite you.

• Unusual behavior
• Wild animals that appear abnormally
tame or shy
• Aggression or viciousness
• Animals that may bite at anything if
• Increased drooling
• Difficulty breathing or paralysis
• Trouble walking
• Problems swallowing
• General sickness
• Death

If you see an animal with any of the signs listed above, report the animal to your local Animal Control Officer immediately.

Signs of Rabies in humans:
In humans, signs usually occur 30-90 days after the bite.

• Pain or tingling at the site of the bite
• Confusion
• Fever
• Hallucinations
• Sore throat
• Paralysis
• Tiredness
• Nervousness
• Headache
• Coma and Death

How can you treat Rabies?
If bitten by a potentially rabid animal, take the following steps right away:
· Wash the bite area with soap and water for 10 minutes and cover the bite with a clean bandage
· Immediately call the doctor and go to a nearby emergency room
· Call your local Animal Control Officer to report the animal that caused the bite
· Report the bite to the local health department

Treatment also includes:
· A fast-acting shot near the animal bite to prevent infection from the virus
· A series of six (6) rabies vaccines over 30 days to prevent infection from the virus

If your pet has been bitten by a potentially rabid animal, take the following steps right away:
· Call your veterinarian immediately

How can you prevent Rabies?

• Never touch unfamiliar, wild, or stray animals• Secure trash cans and pet foods
• Make sure to vaccinate your pets against Rabies

Published August13, 2009 | Announcements | 849

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