Rabies is a disease, caused by a virus that can infect all mammals, including humans. It is transmitted through contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of an infectious animal--usually through a bite. If an exposed person or animal is not treated quickly, the virus may infect the person or animal and may result in death.
Rabies is almost always fatal to animals and people once signs of disease appear. However, immediate treatment by a doctor after exposure, possibly including a post-exposure rabies vaccination, will prevent development of the disease.
Rabies can infect any mammal. In North Carolina it is most common in raccoons, skunks, and foxes, and has also been found in dogs, cats, horses, cattle, bats, and other animals. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of animals found to have rabies in North Carolina.
Because it can be fatal, rabies should be considered extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is important to prevent exposure to the rabies virus whenever possible. The best way to avoid rabies is to stay away from animals that appear sick or act oddly, and avoid contact with strange animals and wildlife. Since people's pets may be exposed to rabies when they come in contact with other animals, pets should be vaccinated by a veterinarian or certified rabies vaccinator against the disease. To help protect people against rabies, vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets is required by law in North Carolina.
How Can You Prevent Rabies?
Rabies - What To Do If Bitten
Minimize Your Risks
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recommends the following steps to minimize your risks of encounters with wildlife around your home: [racoon]
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