Protect Yourself From Rabies: Know the Facts

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Brown bat graphic with Madera County Take a bite out of rabies set on top
Sara Bosse, Madera County Department of Public Health Director says, “The rabies virus is a fairly rare and sometimes fatal disease affecting the brain.  Mammals, including humans, are susceptible.” 
Signs of rabies in animals

Include abnormal animal behaviors like:

  • Wild animals seeming unusually tame or unafraid of approaching people.
  • Nocturnal animals such as skunks, foxes, or bats that are active during the day.
  • Pets having difficulty walking, eating, or drinking, or whose personalities change.
  • Normally docile animals acting in an agitated or aggressive manner.
  • Bats that are unable to fly or have been caught by a domestic dog or cat.

Typically rabies carriers

The rabies virus is typically detected in skunks and bats, less often in animals like coyotes, foxes and raccoons, with domestic animals being infrequently diagnosed. 

How does the virus spread?

The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of a rapid animal that bites another animal or human, or when contagious saliva infects a break in the skin or mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, nose).

What to do if bitten

If you are bitten by a wild animal, promptly wash the wound with soap and water. Immediately consult with your health care provider or Madera County Department of Public Health to determine if the wound requires further attention and whether preventive rabies treatment is required.

Reduce the risk

Reduce the risk of rabies by initially vaccinating and updating vaccinations for your pets. Unvaccinated dogs and cats exposed to a rabid animals should be euthanized immediately. Stay away from unfamiliar animals, and discourage wild animals near your home by keeping garbage in closed, secure containers and collection any uneaten pet food.

For more information