As folks go traipsing into the wild this summer, it’s important to remember some basic facts about rabies. Luckily, The Prowers Journal was there this week for High Plains readers. Here are the highlights:
- The primary route of transmission for rabies is through the bite of an infected animal, but it is also possible, but very rare, that the virus can be spread when saliva enters an open wound or the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- There is no treatment for rabies, but if you are bitten or otherwise exposed to a rabid animal you can be vaccinated against rabies.
- All species of mammals are susceptible to rabies infection, but 92% of infections are found in wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
- You cannot tell an animal has rabies just by looking at it, though oftentimes the animal will be behaving strangely.
- It’s important not to play with unknown domestic, stray or wild animals, as they could be infected.
- If you are bitten by an animal, you should immediately wash the wound with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. Make a note of what animal bit you, if it was acting strangely, and where the animal went. Contact animal control, and they may be able to capture the animal and test it for rabies.