Rabies is a preventable disease.
Rabies Pre & Post Exposure Treatment
What is rabies? Rabies is an acute viral disease of the nervous system that is usually fatal when undetected. It can be transmitted to humans through the saliva and spinal fluid of the infected animal.
How does the health department investigate cases of rabies? The nursing staff works closely with our Environmental Health Staff to investigate human rabies exposures. If a county resident is exposed (animal bite, scratch or indirect exposure) to a potentially rabid animal, they are referred for medical evaluation for post-exposure rabies treatment. The Health Department offers pre-exposure vaccination to those residents who are at increased risk of coming into contact with rabies, including animal control workers, hunters, veterinary, animal shelter employees and environmental health workers.
How can I prevent rabies?
- Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.
- Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
- Call animal control to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.
- Leave all wildlife alone.
- Know the risk: contact with infected bats is the leading cause of rabies deaths in people in the U.S., followed by exposure to rabid dogs while traveling internationally.
- Wash animal bites or scratches immediately with soap and water.
- If you are bitten, scratched, or unsure, talk to a healthcare provider about whether you need postexposure prophylaxis. Rabies in people is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care.
- Vaccinate your pets to protect them and your family.