How can I protect myself from getting rabies?
Be a responsible pet owner:
- Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and
ferrets. This requirement is important not only to keep your pets from getting
rabies, but also to provide a barrier of protection for you, if your animal is
bitten by a rabid wild animal.
- Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do
not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal,
seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
- Call your local animal control agency to remove any
stray animals from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be
infected by the disease.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that
may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals:
- Enjoy wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes) from afar. Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally
attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Never adopt wild animals
or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call
animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to
handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
"Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or
occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where
they might come in contact with people and pets.
- When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild
animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries. Rabies
is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America where
dogs are the major reservoir of rabies. Tens of thousands of people die of rabies each
year in these countries. Before traveling abroad, consult with a health care
provider, travel clinic, or your health department about the risk of
exposure to rabies, preexposure prophylaxis, and how you should handle an
exposure, should it arise.