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What is Rabies?

raccoon1    What is Rabies?

 

Rabies is a deadly viral infection that is mainly spread by infected animals. Rabies is spread by infected saliva that enters the body through a bite or broken skin. The virus travels from the wound to the brain, where it causes swelling, or inflammation. This inflammation leads to symptoms of the disease. Most rabies deaths occur in children. Untreated, rabies can lead to coma and death.

Can snakes cause rabies, the answer is no – only warm blooded animals carry the virus. You can still become sick from a wound caused by a snake, just make sure to clean the wounds really well. Rabies causes about 55,000 human deaths annually worldwide. 95% of human deaths due to rabies occur in Asia and Africa. Roughly 97% of human rabies cases result from dog bites.

In the Southwest, rabies shows up mostly in bats followed by skunks. However, it is estimated that fewer than 1% of bats carry rabies.

What is the best advice – stay away from sickly looking animals, don’t touch or handle wildlife. There is a reason why they are called wildlife…

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