July Is Rabies Awareness Month

Jul 20, 2012, 13:23 ET from Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa., July 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- July is rabies awareness month. Rabies is a deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Transmitted to humans from rabid animals, it's contracted by coming in contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of an infected animal. What most people don't realize is that rabies is nearly always fatal unless immediate medical care is sought. If left untreated, the disease travels from the contact site through the nerves to the brain, causing brain disease and eventually death.

Here are some facts to remember about rabies:

  • Rabid animals may not show outward signs of the disease, like foaming at the mouth, until the last stages of the disease, so don't handle any stray or unfamiliar animals.
  • Never let your pets roam freely outside unsupervised as they may be bitten by a rabid animal without your knowledge.
  • If you see wild animals behaving strangely, call local authorities. Also alert your neighbors.
  • Never adopt wild animals and bring them into your home.
  • Try to prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, or other areas where they come into contact with people and pets.

It's also important to remember that handling stray cats and dogs can be just as dangerous. In 2010, stray cats tied skunks for the second highest number of confirmed rabies cases in Pennsylvania. Never assume that companion animals which don't look sick are safe to touch.

Additional information and tips on rabies can be found on the Center For Disease Control's (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/rabies or the CDC rabies kids' page at www.cdc.gov/rabiesandkids.

The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) is the only statewide professional organization of over 2,200 veterinarians from across the Commonwealth. The association, which was established in 1883, strives to advance animal welfare and human health while ensuring the vitality of the profession. PVMA's website is available at www.pavma.org.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)