• 9 things to know about rabies

    By: Kelly Healey

    Updated:

    (Source: Floridahealth.gov & CDC)

    • Rabies virus can cause a nearly 100% fatal illness in humans and other mammals.
    • The main wildlife sources of rabies in Florida are raccoons and bats.
    • Animals infected with rabies could show strange behavior. They can be aggressive, attack without reason, or act very tame and lethargic (especially wild animals).
    • Dogs, cats and ferrets are required by law to be vaccinated against rabies in the state of Florida.
    • The virus is shed in the saliva and can be passed to another animal or a person, usually through a bite.
    • Transmission could also occur if the infected saliva or the animal's nervous tissue enters open wounds, the mouth, nose or eyes of another animal or person.
    • From 1960 to 2018, a total of 125 human rabies cases were reported in the United States, with about a quarter resulting from dog bites during international travel. Of the infections acquired in the United States, 70% were attributed to bats.
    • Human fatalities associated with rabies typically occur in people who fail to seek medical assistance, usually because they were unaware of their exposure. This is common with bat bites, which can be smaller than the top of a pencil eraser.
    • Sept. 28 is World Rabies Day. It was created to spread awareness for rabies prevention.

    More information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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