What you need to know about Rabies

What you need to know about Rabies

Rabies can affect all mammals but mostly wild animals. In the United States bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes carry rabies and if a person or their pet are bitten or scratched they could be faced with a fatal but preventable viral disease.

What exactly is rabies? According to the CDC the rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death.

As Americans our pets are our family, but animals like cats, dogs and livestock can get rabies. Although dogs only make up 1% of rabid animals reported each year in the United States. Worldwide rabid dogs are still the cause of nearly all human rabies death.

Here’s what to look for to tell if an animal has rabies

  • · General sickness
  • · Lots of drool or saliva
  • · Biting at everything
  • · Appearing tamer than you’d expect
  • · Having trouble moving or paralyzed
  • · A bat that is on the ground

Early symptoms of rabies in humans

  • · Fever
  • · Headache
  • · General weakness
  • · Discomfort (prickling or itching) at site of bite

Symptoms overtime *note once these symptoms occur the disease is fatal*

  • · Difficulty sleeping
  • · Anxiety
  • · Confusion
  • · Hallucinations
  • · Agitation
  • · Partial paralysis
  • · Difficulty swallowing
  • · Hydrophobia (fear of water)

How you can prevent being exposed to rabies

  • · In Michigan bats mostly carry rabies so prevent bats from entering homes, schools, churches or other similar settings where they could come in contact with people and pets
  • · Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your house. Call animal control for assistance.
  • · Animal bites should be reported to the local health department
  • · Do not approach, handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with food, open garbage cans or litter. Tightly cap garbage cans. Feed pets indoors.

· Vaccinate your pets to protect them and your family For more information call Detroit Animal Care at

(313) 224-6356 or visit https://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/.