(courtesy of Wisconsin Rabies Control Training)
What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system, that causes a fatal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. After a bite, the virus travels to the spinal cord, enters the brain and spreads out to the cranial nerves to the salivary glands.
Who are carriers?
The two greatest carriers in the state of Wisconsin are skunks and bats.
How is rabies transmitted?
It is transmitted only when the virus is introduced to open cuts or wounds, such as bites. Rabies can only be transmitted through saliva, not blood, feces, or urine. The virus becomes inactivated in dried salvia.
What should I do if I get bit or exposed?
Wash the bite or wound with soap and water for 15 minutes. The soap/detergent can kill the virus.
What is the incubation period?
The interval between the time the visur is introduced to the body, reaches the brain, and produces signs varies. It can be within 15 to 50 days. In animals it can take up to six months.
What happens to an animal after signs of rabies appear?
Clinical signs are present once the brain is infected. The animal will die once the clinical signs appear. This usually occurs within two to three days, but can take up to ten.
How long should an animal be quarantined?
If the animal has been vaccinated, it should be quarantined for ten days at the owner's home. If it has not been vaccinated, it should be quarantined under a veterinarian's care for the ten days. Both situations require three exams by a veterinarian.
Is there a vaccine available to humans?
Yes. Pre-exposure vaccinations come in a set of three and cost between $1,500 - $2,000. These require a titer every two years. Post-exposure vaccinations should be given in a set of five: on day 0, 3, 7, 14, and 28.
For additional information or to report a possible exposure, contact the Outagamie County Public Health Department.