Be Aware of Rabies Danger

October 21, 2001

Human rabies is an acute and progressive viral infection of the central nervous system. Rabies is usually transmitted to humans by the bite of a rabid animal or by the contamination of scratches, abrasions or mucous membranes with saliva from a rabid animal. Recovery from rabies in humans is extremely rare; only seven cases of successful recovery have been reported, and each required intensive supportive care.
Rabies is a worldwide problem, with most cases in humans resulting from dog bites. In the United States, rabies occurs principally in skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats, but coyote, cattle, dogs and cats are occasionally infected.
Vaccination of domestic dogs, and elimination of strays, is an important part of any rabies eradication program. These measures have resulted in eradication of rabies from many areas.
All animal bites should be cleaned for 10 minutes with soap and water. Treatment of rabies involves administering vaccine. Rabies immune globulin is given initially, and then a series of five doses is completed.
Make sure your children do not provoke or attempt to capture stray or wild animals for pets, or touch carcasses. Appropriate garbage disposal, to keep animals away, is also important. Chimneys should be covered to prevent entrance of bats and other wild animals into your home.

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