Rabies is an acute viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of its victim.

Rabies is sometimes called
hydrophobia,meaning fear of water. It has affected animals and humans since ancient times. Because of how long the virus has been around no one knows exactly how it got started.
Rabies is most often passed from animal to animal, animal to human or human to human, through bites. The virus can also be passed when the saliva, nerve tissue or brain tissue of an infected animal or human gets into open wounds or breaks in the skin, into the eyes, or into the mucus membranes in the nose or mouth. The wet saliva on an animals fur can transmit the virus. Being licked or scratched by a rabid animal can also spread the virus.

     When the rabies virus enters the body it searches out the nerves where it enters the body.  It then must replicate (duplicate) then follow the central nervous system to the spinal column to the brain.  The time period between being exposed to the virus and the start of symptoms is called
incubation.  During the incubation period is the time that allows humans to seek effective treatment from there doctor or hospital.  Modern rabies treatment, if begun in time allows our bodies to fight off the virus. Once the disease reaches the brain and symptoms start to show the disease is fatal in both humans and animals.

     Infected wild animals can easily pass rabies to pets or other domestic animals.  Grazing horses or cattle are infected when bitten by raccoons, skunks or foxes they encounter in their pastures.  Dogs and cats can also be exposed in encounters with infected wild animals or other infected domestic animals.  Humans who are later in contact with these animals are then placed at risk.

     A domestic animal such as dogs, puppies, cats and kittens can shed (transmit to animals and humans) the virus up to 3 days before  they show any symptoms of rabies.  Unlike dogs and cats, the time that the rabies virus may be transmitted in the saliva of wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes, bats, skunks, bobcats, etc.,  before showing signs of rabies cannot be predicted.
    Any animal, wild or domestic, acting in a strange or unusual manner should be treated with caution and avoided.

     Most people think rabid animals can be easily spotted because of excessive drool and foaming at the mouth.  In fact, most animals will display these symptoms only in the latter stages of teh infection, and sometimes not even then.

     A way to identify animals that pose a risk is to recognize unusual, or abnormal behavior.  Rabid animals, wild or domestic, may stagger (like they are drunk), appear restless, be aggressive, change in tone of their barks or growls, or appear to be choking.  Animals that usually are active at night may become active during the day.  Passive animals sometimes become fierce and aggressive.
There are many things that people can do to protect themselves from exposure to rabies. The easiest and simplest way to protect yourself and your pets is to make sure that all domestic dogs and cats four months of age or older have a current rabies vaccination.

     If your animal comes into contact with a possible rabid animals,
do not handle your animal with your bear hands as the saliva on your animal from the possible rabid animal can transmit the virus to you.

     Stay away from all wild animals and unknown dogs and cats.

     Teach your children the importance of staying away from wild animals and unknown dogs/puppies and cats/kittens.  Make sure they tell you immediately if they are bitten or scratched by any animal.

     Avoid any animal acting unusual.

     Never try to break up an animal fight by putting your hands or any part of your body between the animals, even if your pet is involved.
If you must feed your pets outside, feed them near the house, allow your pet time to eat, and then remove leftover food; food left outside will attract other animals such as raccoons, foxes, possums, feral cat, stray cats and dogs. Do not throw food scraps outside, throwing food scraps into the yard is an invitation for wild animals to come to your door. When that animal gets sick it will most likely come back to where it has been feed. Instead place food scraps in a secure trash container which animals cannot enter.
In the event of a bite or other potential exposure especially from a wild animal or domestic animal acting strange, have someone contact Animal Control for instructions about the animal. If it is a wild animal that caused the bite, scratch or other exposure it is very important that this animal not be allowed to get away. When it is killed, do not damage the brain. If it is a domestic animal that is acting strange that caused the bite, scratch or other exposure try to confine the animal if a t all possible without placing your self or others in danger.

     Wash the affected area of exposure immediately with soap and water.  Contact your physician or health department about advice on treatment.

     All animal bites, whether the animals is wild or domestic, vaccinated or not,
must be reported to the Health Department or Animal Control.  

     If you think your pet may have come into contact with a rabid animal or may have the rabies virus contact Animal Control right away.

     If your animal fights with or has other possible contact with a possible rabid animal, contact Animal Control for instructions.  
Do not handle your pet with your bear hands.
CDC Rabies home                                          Michigan 1983                                       Texas1984      
Pennsylvania 1984                                          Texas 1985                                            Oregon, 1989       
Texas, 1990                                                    Texas, Arkansas, and Georgia, 1991         California, 1992       
Texas and California, 1993                               New York, 1993                                    West Virginia, 1994   
Miami, 1994                                                   Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas, 1994      California, 1994
Connecticut, 1995                                           Washington, 1995                                   California, 1995                  Florida, 1996                                                  Kentucky and Montana, 1996                    New Hampshire, 1996 Montana and Washington, 1997                        Texas and New Jersey, 1997                   Virginia, 1998       
California, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin, 2000
Cases of rabies in human beings in the United States, by circumstances of exposure and rabies virus variant, 1980-1997*
Cases of rabies in human beings in the United States, by circumstances of exposure and rabies virus variant, 1990-1999*
Cases of rabies in human beings in the United States, by circumstances of exposure and rabies  virus variant, 1990-2000
Cat Rabies Exposures in Iowa -- 1981
Exposure to a Rabid Cow -- Pennsylvania  1982
Mass Treatment of Humans Exposed to Rabies ? New Hampshire, 1994
Mass Treatment of Humans Who Drank Unpasteurized Milk from Rabid Cows
Animal Rabies ? South Dakota, 1995
Rabies in a Llama -- Oklahoma
Rabid Bear Cub Iowa, 1999
Rabies: Questions and Answers                                        Rabies Link Page
Rabies -- United States, 1981                                          Rabies Surveillance, United States, 1987  
Rabies Surveillance, United States, 1988
Extension of the Raccoon Rabies Epizootic -- United States, 1992
Raccoon Rabies Epizootic -- United States, 1993
Raccoon Rabies Epizootic ? United States, 1996     
Raccoon Rabies Epizootic -- United States and Canada, 1999
Raccoon Rabies -- Mid-Atlantic States
Cases of rabies in the United States and Puerto Rico, by state and category, 1998
Cases of rabies in the United States and Puerto Rico, by state and category, 1999
Rabies cases diagnosed in the United States, 1999     
Using a Spatial Filter and a Geographic Information System to Improve Rabies Surveillance Data

Translocation of Coyote Rabies ? Florida, 1994
Reports Imported Dog and Cat Rabies -- New Hampshire, California
An Imported Case of Rabies in an Immunized Dog
Bear Places Zoo Visitors, Others At Risk for Rabies
Risk for Rabies Transmission from Encounters with Bats, Colorado, 1977-1996

Imported Human Rabies -- Australia, 1987
International Notes Bat Rabies -- Europe
First Case of Human Rabies in Chile
Rabies in Marmosets
Reports Rabies in a Javelina -- Arizona
Human Rabies -- Kenya
Reports Human Rabies Acquired Outside the United States
Human Rabies Despite Treatment With Rabies Immune Globulin and Human Diploid Cell Rabies Vaccine -- Thailand
Imported Human Rabies -- France, 1992
Imported Human Rabies

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