What is rabies?
Once people get the virus, it spreads through the body and is fatal without quick treatment. You can prevent rabies with a vaccine. Prompt treatment will prevent people who come in contact with a rabid animal from getting rabies. Treatment involves 4 or 5 shots of rabies vaccine in the arm and one shot of Human Rabies Immune Globulin (HRIG).
How is rabies spread?
The rabies virus spreads through the saliva of a rabid animal. Usually it is because a rabid animal bites another animal or person or scratches another animal or person and saliva gets into the wound. The virus may also get into the body through open cuts or wounds, or through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
What animals can spread rabies?
In the United States, rabies spreads mostly by wild animals. Rabies is usually found in raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, woodchucks, and bats. Domestic animals like dogs, cats, ferrets, and farm animals can get rabies as well. Vaccinating your pets can prevent them from getting rabies.
Any mammal can get rabies. Birds, fish, snakes, and amphibians do not carry rabies. Although it is possible for rodents to get the disease, animals like mice, rats, and squirrels almost never carry rabies.