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Some mammal species including raccoons, skunks,
foxes, and coyotes,
can carry rabies. The most common mode of rabies viral transmission
is through the bite of an infected animal.
What you can do to help prevent the spread of rabies:
(from the Center for Disease Control)
- Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. 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 into contact
with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary
assistance for the animal immediately.
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals
from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be infected
by the disease.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets
that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
- Enjoy wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc.) from afar. Do not
handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with 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. "Love your own, leave other animals
alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes,
churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in
contact with people and pets.
What to do after a possible exposure (from the Center for Disease
If you are exposed to a potentially rabid animal, wash the wound thoroughly
with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately. A health
care provider will care for the wound and will assess the risk for rabies
exposure. The following information will help your health care provider
assess your risk:
- the geographic location of the incident
- the type of animal that was involved
- how the exposure occurred (provoked or unprovoked)
- the vaccination status of animal
- whether the animal can be safely captured and tested for rabies
Steps taken by the health care practitioner will depend on the circumstances
of the bite. Your health care practitioner should consult state or local
health departments, veterinarians, or animal control officers to make
an informed assessment of the incident and to request assistance. The
important factor is that you seek care promptly after you are bitten by
Department of Health (with links to rabies alerts and guidebook)
Center for Disease Control
of Health rabies information
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