Rabies facts


(8/25/2004)

*All warm blooded animals and humans are susceptible to rabies worldwide.

*Hundreds of cases of rabies are reported annually in Minnesota.

*Once rabies symptoms develop, the disease is fatal.

*Rabies is caused by a virus.

*Rabies is a threat to human health and is spread by infected dogs, cats and wild animals.

*Vaccination of dogs and cats helps build a protective barrier between people and the reservoir of rabies in wild animals.

If bitten:

*Wash the wound with soap and water.

*Consult a physician as soon as possible.

*Domestic animals who bite should be confined for at least 10 days to observe for symptoms of rabies.

*Signs of rabies in wild animals cannot be interpreted reliably. Any wild animal who bites or scratches a person should be immediately destroyed (without damaging the head) and taken to a veterinarian. Avoid contact with animal saliva or brain tissue.

*The victim can be protected by vaccination.

Rabies spreads through the saliva of infected animals and is usually transmitted to other animals and humans through bites. It is possible to become infected if saliva gets into cuts or open wounds. Once in the body the virus travels up the nervous system to the spinal cord and brain.

Symptoms

*Symptoms appear after an uncertain period of incubation in the animal.

*Normal behavior changes.

*Friendly animals become aggressive and timid creatures my become bold.

*Death follows quickly

Vaccinations

Vaccinations for all dogs and cats is the best possible insurance against rabies. Modern vaccinations are inexpensive, do not hurt and provide a high degree of protection.

Safeguards

*Report any suspicion or possible rabies to a veterinarian or local or state health officials.

*Refer all animal bite cases to a physician.

*Confine domesticated animals to observe for symptoms.

*Vaccinate pets.

*Do not keep a wild animal for a pet.

(Information provided by Winona County Environmental Health Services)

 

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