Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People get rabies from the bite of an animal infected with rabies (a rabid animal). Any wild mammal, like a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat can have rabies and transmit it to people. Dogs and cats, and other domestic animals can transmit rabies. It is also possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies from the saliva of a rabid animal if the saliva gets directly into their eyes, nose, mouth or a wound.
Most of the rabid animals found in Yavapai County have been foxes.
How can rabies be prevented?
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if the animal appears friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
- Wash any bite or scratch from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Have all dead, sick or easily captured bats tested for rabies if exposure to people or pets occurs.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar areas where they might contact people and pets.
- Be a responsible pet owner by keeping vaccinations current for all dogs, cats and ferrets. Keep your cats and ferrets inside and your dogs under supervision. Call your local Animal Control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information about rabies.