Just about everyone has heard of rabies but very few people know what it is, what animals carry it and what to do if bitten by a rabid animal. At Anderson Wildlife Control we want everyone to be aware of this disease and how to take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening.
Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. The disease is zoonotic which means it can be transmitted from one species to another. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system and if left untreated will cause disease in the brain and death. It is estimated that 97% of human rabies cases result from dog bites but other animals that are known to carry rabies include raccoons, skunks and bats. Rabies causes roughly 55,000 human deaths every year with 95% of fatalities occurring in Africa and Asia.
Rabies is usually transmitted through an animal bite and the disease is delivered through the animal’s saliva. It’s hard to tell if an animal has rabies so if you are bitten or scratched by a dog, raccoon or skunk it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. Once the rabies virus reaches the central nervous system the disease is almost untreatable and will most likely lead to death.
If you come into contact with a wild animal and suffer a bite or scratch wash the wound for at least 15 minutes with soap and water to try and rinse away the animal’s saliva. Call your doctor or local emergency room for immediate attention. Early stage symptoms include malaise, headaches and fever and then progresses into acute pain, violent movements and depression. If not treated a victim of a rabid animal bite will go into a coma where respiratory insufficiency is the primary cause of death.
People who own dogs and cats are encouraged to have their pets vaccinated since they are more likely to come into contact with a rabid wild animal than a person. If your pet is not vaccinated, rabies will turn your loving friend into a violent animal that will not hesitate to bite you.
Stay away from wild animals and don’t ever try to handle a raccoon, skunk or bat. If you notice a wild animal or stray dog acting strangely contact Anderson Wildlife Control immediately and stay as far away from the animal as possible.