Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system of all warm-blooded animals, including humans.
Raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, cats, dogs, and cattle are most likely to get rabies. Once symptoms appear, rabies is always fatal in animals and humans.
How can people tell if an animal has rabies?
There are two forms of rabies:
– Dumb Rabies. The animal may be depressed and hide in isolated places. Wild animals may become unusually friendly.
– Furious Rabies. The animal may become excited and aggressive, alternating with periods of depression.
How can people prevent rabies?
– Vaccinate pets.
– Do not let a pet roam free, especially at night.
– Feed the pet indoors. That discourages unwanted visitors.
– Stay away from dogs and cats that act strangely, or that are unfamiliar.
– Keep away from wild animals including raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats.
– Store all garbage in proper containers with secure lids to discourage wild animals.
What should I do if I am bitten or scratched?
1. Immediately wash the bite or scratched area thoroughly with soap and water. Washing greatly reduces the chance of infection.
2. Call the family doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
3. Report the bite or scratch to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. The family doctor or the health care facility that treats the injury must also report the incident to Public Health.
4. Give the following information to Public Health:
– Contact information for the person involved and the animal owner;
– Date of incident;
– Type of exposure (bite or scratch); and
– Type of animal.
What will WDG Public Health do?
– Arrange to keep the animal away from people and other animals for 10 days to make sure it does not have rabies.
– Give vaccine to the doctor of the exposed person if the animal involved in the incident cannot be found or tested.
For more information about rabies go to www.wdghu.com or contact a WDG Public Health inspector at: 1-800-265-7293.