Rabies – Essential Facts and Guidelines to Keep You Safe

On December 19th, the Health and Environmental Control Department released a confirmation that the wild raccoon that made its way into the Lexington Medical Center – which is in West Columbia – tested positive for rabies. Again, on December 22nd, they confirmed that a stray cat that was found in Graniteville, South Carolina tested positive for rabies.Raccoon With Rabies

Being that many people are becoming increasingly concerned about animals and the possibility of them being infected with rabies, we feel it is appropriate to create an essential fact guide that also includes safety guidelines pertaining to this virus. Continue reading to learn more.

What is the Rabies Virus?

Rabies -which is also referred to as “Lyssavirus” by professionals -is a type of infectious disease that directly impacts the central nervous system in various types of mammals. Due to its location within the nervous system, most animals that contract the virus will start to display or engage in behaviors that are considered to be abnormal.

When an animal is infected, it will shed the virus a few days prior to its passing. It is during this time that the saliva from the creature may infect another animal. This virus is not transmitted through the urine, the feces, or the blood. It is also not an airborne pathogen.

What Are the Signs of a Rabies Infection?

There are two main forms used to identify creatures with rabies. The first is referred to as the “dumb” and the second is identified as the “furious”. In the first form mentioned, the create may appear to be tame and not be afraid of people or other animals.

This includes wildlife. When in the “furious”, the animals will drool to a high extent and will become very irritable. They may bite at real or imagined objects and behave in a highly erratic manner.

Rabid animals may also display the following signs:

  1. They may wobble when they move, or appear as if they are intoxicated.
  2. Many will engage in circling motions, for which there is no explanation.
  3. It may appear as if the animal is experiencing some type of paralysis.
  4. It is not uncommon for the creature to seem as if they are disoriented.
  5. Many may start to harm themselves.
  6. Nocturnal (night) animals may be seen during the daytime hours and acting abnormally.
  7. If a domesticated pet is infected, their personality may change rapidly and they are likely to display signs of aggression – even towards their owners.

What Animals Carry the Infection?

Any type of mammal that is considered to be warm-blooded may carry the virus; however, the most common carriers are coyotes, raccoons, foxes, bats, and skunks. Wild animals make up approximately 90% of all cases due to the fact that most domesticated pets are vaccinated against the disease.

Can Rabies Infect or Kill People?

Yes, humans are capable of contracting rabies, but only if they are bit by an infected animal or come in direct contact with the animal’s saliva through a cut or a wound. According to statistics 3 people or less die each year from rabies in the United States.

It is rare to become infected, get a serious illness, or die from rabies, but it is possible; therefore, precautions should be taken.

What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Rabies?

While it is true that it is rare to contract rabies, the following precautions should be practiced – just to be on the safe side:

  1. You should never approach, try to catch, or directly handle any type of wild animal.
  2. If you have a dog or a cat as a pet, be sure to vaccinate them.
  3. If you see that a wild animal is ill, you should contact a professional wildlife remover, animal control, or a rehabilitator for help.
  4. If you ever experience a bite from a wild animal, get medical help right away.
  5. If your pet receives a bite from a wild animal, seek veterinarian help right away.
  6. Until you reach a doctor, any bite should be cleaned in an aggressive manner with a soap that is classified as an “antiseptic”.
  7. If you discover a bat in any area of your home, you should assume that you, your loved ones, and/or your pet/pets have been bitten. In this case, you should contact the CDC for further guidance.
  8. Always make certain that the area around your home is not attractive to wildlife that could be carrying rabies. For example, close garbage cans tightly, do not leave pet food outdoors, avoid leaving water sources outside, and make sure your yard is kept at clean and manicured as possible.
  9. If a creature makes its way inside of your home, never try to remove it. Instead, get a professional to do it.
  10. If – at any time -you feel in danger with any animal, never attempt to handle it on your own. Get help from a wildlife removal expert.

We Can Help

If you feel threatened by any type of wildlife, or if you find that an animal is not acting right, you may seek help through a local animal control office or call us here at Palmetto Wildlife Extractors.

We are trained and fully equipped to handle all types of wildlife situations. You should never attempt to catch or trap animals on your own. Even if the creature does not have rabies, it could be carrying other types of infectious agents and may even become aggressive towards you.

Contact us now for assistance by calling: 855-465-1088


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