FAQs about RABIES
Due to the recent outbreak of rabies in Goshen County the following information has been posted by Goshen County Public Health to help you make the correct decisions if you would have possible exposure or encounter a sick animal.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT RABIES IN WYOMING VISIT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE: www.WYORABIES.org.
- What is rabies?
Rabies is a serious disease. It is an animal disease that can be transmitted to humans. Rabies is deadly and can kill anyone who gets it.
- How can I get rabies?
People usually get rabies when they are bitten by an animal that has the virus. Animals that most often get rabies are wild animals, for example bats, skunks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes. Rabies can be transmitted to domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, if they are bitten by a rabid animal.
- What does a rabid animal look like?
Some things to look for:
Lots of drool or saliva (may seem to be foaming at the mouth)
An animal that appears more tame than you would expect
An animal that bites at everything
An animal that is having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed
- What should I do if I encounter a rabid animal?
If you see an animal acting strangely, do not touch the animal, or try to confine it. Report it to animal control. In Goshen County, call Central Dispatch at 532-7001, and give the officer on duty a description of the animal’s behavior, its physical description, and the location where the animal can be found.
Warn other people in the general vicinity to avoid contact with the animal and inform them that you reported it to Central Dispatch.
- What should I do if I come across a dead animal?
NEVER pick up or touch dead animals. The rabies virus may still be present in the saliva or nervous tissue, especially if the animal has been dead only for a short period of time. If you see a dead animal, call Central Dispatch at 532-7001 to report the location of the dead animal and to request the body be disposed of. If you should kill an animal suspected of having rabies, do not dismember nor dispose of the body. Do not let anyone else touch or move the body. Call Central Dispatch at 532-7001 to report the location of the dead animal and to request the body be disposed of.
- What should I do if I have been exposed to rabies?
Rabies can be transmitted to humans if the saliva of an infected animal gets into a fresh scratch, break in the skin, or contact with mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth, or nose. If you are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, or by an animal you suspect may have rabies, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water and see a doctor immediately. The doctor will determine if you need to be vaccinated.
- What can I do to prevent rabies?
Keep your pets indoors. When a pet goes outside, make sure an adult is there to watch it and keep it safe.
Do not feed or put water for your pets outside. These items may attract wild animals or stray cats and dogs to your yard. Rabies is transmitted by the saliva of rabid animals. If a rabid animal should eat or drink food and water intended for your pets, your pet may get rabies from the contaminated food and water.
Secure garbage and empty food containers in a closed container with a tight fitting lid. Wild or stray animals that are hungry scavenge garbage cans for food.
Teach your children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
Avoid contact with unfamiliar animals. Enjoy wild animals from a distance. Do not handle, feed, or attract wild animals. Never adopt or bring wild animals into your home.
- How can I protect my pet from rabies?
Be a responsible pet owner. Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats and dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your pet. This helps cut down on the number of unwanted and stray animals. These animals often do not have their rabies shot and are in close contact with wild animals, some of which may have rabies.
- What should I do if I find a bat in my home?
While most wild animals are found primarily outdoors, bats can sometimes fly into buildings. This includes your home and even the room where you sleep. If you see a bat in your home, confine the bat to the room it is in, then close the interior door and open any windows to permit its exit to the outdoors. The bat will probably leave soon. If not, approach it slowly, and when it lands place a box or coffee can over it. Then slide a thin piece of cardboard underneath the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely. Then call Central Dispatch at 532-7001 to report information about the bat.