September 28 is World Rabies Day.

This day marks a global health observance that works to promote the prevention of rabies and the dangers it entails. While rabies is preventable, it is still as a large danger to pets and humans every year. 

What is Rabies?

When we think of rabies, we typically think of getting bitten by a wild animal and then having a bad reaction from the bite. Rabies is a virus transmitted through the saliva of any rabid animal. The virus can only enter through an open wound and not intact skin. Many do not realize that there are tens of thousands cases a year, many resulting in death. While most cases are in Africa and Asia, it is common in rural areas, making Vermont a high risk area.

What to Look For

So, how do you know if you have rabies? Does every animal bite mean you are at risk? Regardless of whether you have rabies or not, you should always seek medical attention after being bit by an animal.

Keep your eyes open for the signs listed below so you can receive immediate medical attention:

  • Fever 
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Partial Paralysis 
  • Headache
  • Excessive Salivation 

It is important to know that virtually any animal can cause rabies if they are infected. The following list of animals most commonly carry rabies, so keep a close eye open:

  • Raccoons
  • Bats
  • Skunks
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Cats
  • Cattle
  • Dogs

Treatment and Prevention

Currently, there is no effective treatment. Doctors urge anyone who suspects they are at risk to get one a rabies vaccine that is currently available to anyone. Drugs can be administered, but are not always effective. Rabies can be avoided and prevented when being vigilant and taking the right precautions. This September, keep yourself safe and watch out for possible risks.

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