Rabies Prevention in Humans and Animals
  1. Rabies Prevention in Humans and Animals

SEPTEMBER 23 2021 /

Rabies Prevention in Humans and Animals

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that can only be found in mammals. It attacks the central nervous system and has the highest mortality rate amongst any disease in the world. Humans cannot just get rabies, it must be transmitted to them, which the CDC has found to be almost always from a dog.

How is it Caused and Transmitted?

Information directly from the CDC says that there are distinct strains of rabies. These various strains have been identified in raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes, along with several species of bats. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal through a deep bite or scratch. Very rarely rabies can be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, and nose, aerosol transmission, and corneal and organ transplants.

What Are the Symptoms?

Rabies can stay dormant in an individual’s system for 1-3 months. After the virus travels through the central nervous system to the brain is when symptoms will become apparent. Early symptoms present similarly to the flu and can include weakness, fever, and a headache. The site where there is the bite or scratch can become, painful with tingling, and burning.

Within days symptoms can rapidly progress, leading to:

  • Cerebral dysfunction due to brain damage
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Agitation


Beyond these symptoms, there are ones even more severe that can develop such as:

  • Delirium
  • Abnormal Behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Salivating more than usual
  • Difficulty swallowing


Unfortunately, once these symptoms appear, the virus is almost always fatal; with a coma, and heart or lung failure soon following.

What Treatments are Available?

If you get bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound with soap and water immediately as it lowers the chances for infection. You should also plan to see a doctor as soon as possible, as those who have had a potential exposure are treated with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is any medical treatment working preventatively after exposure to a pathogen to prevent an infection from occurring. The PEP treatment for rabies is a combination of human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) and rabies vaccine. Typically, an individual would get one dose of HRIG, and then four doses of the rabies vaccine over the course of the next 14 days. These shots are safe for pregnant women to get should they need to get this treatment. According to WebMD, this course of treatment is always successful if administered immediately after exposure to the virus.

How Can You Prevent Rabies?

According to the CDC, there are four aspects of preventing rabies in humans or animals that can be crucial to keeping your family and animals safe.

  1. Keep your dogs’, cats’, and ferrets’ rabies vaccinations up to date.
  2. Keep all cats and small mammals indoors. Keep dogs under direct supervision when outdoors.
  3. Spay and neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
  4. Call animal control to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood since they may be unvaccinated or sick.

What Can JP McHale Pest Management Do for You?

If you are seeing animals acting erratically and being aggressive towards humans around your neighborhood, you should call your local animal control or police. But if you are having an issue on your property the wildlife specialists at JP McHale Pest Management are ready to assist you in safely removing the animal from your property.

Contact Us Today!