Rabies is a viral zoonotic neuroinvasive disease with three known stages. It causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in mammals. In addition, the disease is known to be fatal in non-vaccinated humans after neurological symptoms have developed; however, post-exposure vaccination usually prevents the virus from progressing.
Any mammal can become infected with the rabies virus and develop symptoms. Generally, bats, monkeys, raccoons, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, dogs, and cats are the greatest risk for exposure to humans. Rabies may also spread due to exposure of domestic farm animals, groundhogs, weasels, and other wild carnivores.
People and animals alike are generally infected via a bite. Rabies is transmitted via saliva. The infected animal is exceptionally aggressive, attacks without provocation, and exhibits uncharacteristic behavior. Frequently, the animal has saliva dripping from its mouth.
Fortunately, rabies can be prevented by vaccination in humans and other animals. In the United Kingdom, the efforts to vaccinate animals has been so successful that the disease has been all but eradicated completely since the early 20th century.
In the United States, raccoons from the Mid-Atlantic states and Northeast have been suffering from an epidemic of rabies since the 1970s. The raccoons’ rabies epidemic is starting to spread into Ohio. For much of history, rabies was a disease that was prevalent only in the Southern states.
Despite the disease’s association with dogs, more cats in the United States are diagnosed with rabies than dogs each year. For this reason, it is very important to be vaccinated against rabies following any cat bite.
If you have been bitten and injured by an animal, please contact the Lake Geneva animal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-275-1729 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.