is an acute viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. It
is a disease passed from animal to animal by bites. Humans can get the
rabies disease as well and, if untreated, it is almost always fatal.
Rabies is found most often in skunks, raccoons, bats, woodchucks, foxes
and other carnivores.
animals are not always easy to identify. Contrary to what you may
think, not all rabid animals foam and drool at the mouth. Animals may
stagger, appear restless, be aggressive, appear very friendly, exhibit
a difference in their barks or howls, seem to be choking - or they may
show no signs of the disease at all.
Humans Get Rabies
is generally transmitted from an infected wild or domestic animal by:
- a bite
- a lick
to open wounds or cuts
tissue or saliva introduced into cuts or the mucous membranes of the
nose, eyes, or mouth.
think you have been exposed,seek medical advice immediately! To save
an infected person's life, treatment must begin between the exposure
and the start of symptoms -known as the incubation period.
advent of mandatory pet immunization for rabies (effective January 1993
all cats must be immunized, too), the disease has been found primarily
in wildlife populations. However, now that you, understand how the disease
is transmitted, you can easily see how your unimmunized pets could expose
you to the virus. Obey all local leash laws. If your dog or cat is involved
in a fight it could come home with disease-bearing saliva on its fur,
you need to be prepared. Keep a pair of latex or rubber gloves nearby
and use them as you examine and confine your pet. Discuss further action
with your vet.
a list of some precautions you can take to reduce the possibility of
your pets -vaccine is available for dogs, cats, ferrets, cattle, horses
- Stay away
from stray animals.
contact with all wildlife - even innocent appearing baby raccoons can
be rabies positive.
wild animals from dining around your home - do not leave pet food outdoors
and secure garbage can lids.
your children to stay away from wild animals and pets other than their
own. Teach them to tell you about any animal that has scratched or bitten
touch dead animals -if it is absolutely necessary , wear rubber or latex
- Let your
doctor determine whether an exposure to rabies has occurred.
- Do not
try to make that determination yourself.
- Know that
there are safe and effective vaccines for persons exposed to rabies.
- Know what
to do if you are exposed to rabies.
to do if you are exposed to rabies
to the rabies virus is not fatal when treated in time. Modern treatment
consists of a series of five shots in the arms over a period of weeks
and a dose of anti-rabies globulin at the start of the treatment.
It's relatively painless - seek treatment as soon as possible.
are exposed wash the wound or affected area for ten minutes with soap
and water; if the eye, nose or mouth is affected,flush with water
for several minutes. Then, contact your physician for an evaluation.
Don't wait for symptoms to develop - by then it is too late to treat
the disease and death will result.
Produced by the NH Division of Public Health Services