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Rabies

What is it? Rabies is a preventable viral disease that affects the brain and ultimately leads to death if not treated in time.

How is it spread? The rabies virus is typically spread through the saliva of an infected host. In most cases, this occurs via a bite from a rabid animal. Of note, the virus is not spread through contact with the blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal.

Who carries rabies? While any mammal may carry rabies (including domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, and ferrets), rabies is carried mainly through wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats (especially in the United States).

What does a rabid animal looks like? A rabid animal’s behavior may differ based on the progression of the disease. While tame behavior is possible, strange or abnormal behavior may also occur. This includes aggression, avoidance of food and water, foaming at the mouth, and irregular movements.

What does an infected human look like? Initial symptoms look very similar to the flu (generalized weakness, fever, headache). As the disease progresses, a person may experience delirium, insomnia, and hallucinations. Note: once clinical signs or symptoms arise, the disease is almost always fatal.

First Aid for a person/pet? Immediately wash the bite area with soap and warm water. If possible, use a Povidone-iodine solution to cleanse the wound. Then call either your doctor or the Georgia Poison Center for further instructions.

Treatment Treatment for rabies is very effective when initiated promptly. It consists of 2 components:

Prevention for your pets

Prevention for yourself and your family