The number of human rabies cases in this country has dramatically declined due to improved rabies vaccination programs for pets and better treatment for people who have been bitten. The majority of recent human cases acquired in the U.S. have resulted from exposure to bats. To prevent the spread of rabies to humans, keep your pet’s vaccinations current and avoid contact with wild animals.
Dogs are still a significant source of rabies in other countries. Be aware of this risk when traveling outside of the United States.
What You Can Do to Help Control Rabies
Have your veterinarian vaccinate your cats, dogs, ferrets and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up to date. Your vet will advise you on the recommended or required frequency of rabies vaccinations.
Reduce the possibility of rabies exposure by keeping your animal on your property. Don’t let your pet roam free. Don’t leave garbage or pet food outside, because it may attract wild or stray animals.
Wild animals should not be kept as pets. They are a potential rabies threat to their owners and to others. Observe all wild animals from a distance, even if they do appear friendly.
A rabid animal may act tame. Don’t go near it. If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to Animal Care and Control. Most cases of rabies occur in wild animals - mainly skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes.
If You Have Been Bitten
Don’t panic, but don’t ignore the bite.
Wash the wound thoroughly and vigorously with soap and lots of water.
If possible, capture the animal under a large box or at least try to identify it before it runs away. Don’t try to pick the animal up. If the animal cannot be caught and it must be killed to prevent its escape, don’t damage the head. The brain will be needed to test for rabies.
Depending on the severity of the bite, immediately contact your physician and then our department. A warden will come get the animal if you have been able to capture the biter.
Report any bite to Animal Care and Control as soon as possible after obtaining necessary medical attention! Telephone: 847-377-4700.