Get the facts on rabies – The World Health Organization says rabies causes thousands of deaths every year, despite readily available tools to manage the disease. #rabies
Get the facts on rabies
Humans and animals can get rabies any time of year, though humans and household pets may be at greater risk in warm weather because that’s when they tend to spend the most time outdoors. Children who spend time outside playing may be especially susceptible because they may not recognize rabies warning signs in animals afflicted with the disease.
Rabies might not be as rampant in North America as it is in other areas of the world, but it still is a dangerous threat.
What is rabies?
Considered a zoonotic disease, rabies is transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. With the exception of Antarctica, rabies is present on all continents. In the United States, rabies has been reported in every state except Hawaii. The WHO reports that most cases of rabies in humans occur in rural areas where effective treatments are not readily accessible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says half of the people who die from rabies are under the age of 15.
Rabies was named for the Latin word “to rage.” That’s because animals that are affected by rabies can sometimes act as if they’re angry. Pets may act strangely and become unapproachable. Rabies attacks the brain and spinal cord. As the disease progresses, animals can develop hypersensitivity to light and sound as well as paralysis of the nerves that control the head and throat.
How is rabies contracted?
Rabies is a virus that is spread through contact with saliva from an infected animal. This occurs when an infected animal bites another animal or person, but it also can be contracted if that animal licks a scratch or open wound. Being bitten or licked may not immediately cause rabies symptoms, however. WHO says thorough cleansing and immunization within a few hours after contact with a suspected rabid animal can prevent the onset of the disease. Once symptoms appear, such as fever and pain, rabies can be fatal.
Which animals get rabies?
Rabies only affects mammals naturally. These can include dogs, cats, cows, horses, foxes, and skunks. Many people attribute rabies to raccoons. The CDC has indicated that raccoons are the most common wild animal with rabies. In the United States alone, about 93 of every 100 reported cases of rabies are in wild animals.
Vaccinations can protect domestic pets against rabies. In fact, rabies shots are required by law in many areas.
People should steer clear of wild animals to avoid rabies. Never walk up to a wild animal and be careful of pets that are unfamiliar. Animals afflicted with rabies may exhibit peculiar behavior or act out of characters (i.e. nocturnal animals roaming during the day). Anyone who suspects a sick animal should promptly call the local animal control center and have an officer come and check it out.
Treated food is sometimes used to prevent the spread of rabies among wild animals. The animals eat the medicated food, which immunizes them.
For more information on rabies prevention in pets, contact your veterinarian.
Article compliments of MetroCreative. HW166137