Rabies is a life-threatening disease that can be transmitted only amongst mammals. This disease attacks the central nervous system, causing infected animals to act abnormally. If not addressed immediately, this disease can be deadly, however timely treatment after exposure is 100% effective.
One of the most common and earliest symptoms of rabies is a fever or warmth / tingling at the area where the person or animal was bitten. Those infected may not display symptoms of rabies right away. It can take one to three months for symptoms such as abnormal behavior or confusion to show, however, some people and animals can exhibit symptoms within days of being bitten. For this reason, it’s important to act immediately and receive medical attention shortly after contact.
Over 90% of reported rabies cases are caused by bites from wild animals. It is very rare that pets are affected by this disease, as most pet owners have their animals vaccinated to protect them from contracting the disease.
Amongst these wild animals, raccoons are the most commonly infected. Other cases have been reported involving bats, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Although it’s unusual, other mammals can also carry this disease including rats, squirrels and groundhogs.
How to Protect Yourself from Rabies
- Never approach or feed a wild animal
- Be careful of pets that you aren’t familiar with
- Vaccinate your pets
- If you see an animal acting strangely, call your local animal control center
- Seek immediate medical treatment for any animal bite
- Scrub any bite would immediately with soap and water and flush the wound thoroughly
- If you encounter a bat in your home, it is recommended to assume that you may have unknowingly been bitten and seek medical treatment
If you or a loved one have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. No appointments are needed to visit any UPMC Urgent Care center. Get checked out and receive the treatment you need, when you need it most urgently.