What you need to know about rabies

Abell Pest Control

There are plenty of reasons to want to keep animals off your property. Creatures large and small can be a nuisance, and many harbor infectious disease that can be a risk to your home or business.

Mammalian invaders in particular such as rats, mice, raccoons and others can transmit a particularly scary pathogen. The lyssavirus causes a number of dangerous illnesses, most notably rabies. Modern medicine makes it so rabies is a rare and curable disorder, but the risk is quite serious nonetheless. Here's a little bit more about the disease and what you can do to keep yourself safe:

What causes rabies
The virus exists in infected animals around the world and spreads through saliva. For that reason a bite from a rabid animal can lead to an infection. The pathogen embeds itself into muscle tissue and replicates as quickly as possible before traveling to the brain and attacking the central nervous system.

Rabies is present all over the world, and according to the World Health Organization, the highest mortality rates occur in Asia and Africa. Access to vaccines and treatment in other parts of the planet help to keep serious issues caused by the disease to a minimum.

Any mammal can transmit the rabies virus, and depending on where you live, certain animals may be of more serious concern. For instance, 99 percent of human rabies cases result from dogs.

In the Western Hemisphere, however, where feral dogs are less common and pets usually receive immunizations, this happens at significantly less frequent rate. Instead the most common vector for the virus in this part of the world is bats. That said, many other creatures can harbor rabies, from cows and goats to foxes and raccoons.

Possible Symptoms
Once infected with the virus, there is usually an incubation period that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The Mayo Clinic explained that even when a patient does begin to show symptoms, it's possible to confuse the disease with the flu.

A rabies infection can induce fever, nausea, headache or vomiting. An inability to drink water called hydrophobia is also common. Later symptoms include hyperactivity, confusion, hallucinations, insomnia and even partial paralysis.

The Mayo Clinic stated that if you have been bitten by a wild animal or even have come in close contact with one, you should visit a doctor right away. Make sure small children recognize this risk as well. Treatment is usually readily available and inexpensive, and a series of injections helps your body fight back against the infection.

Spotting an animal with rabies
When people imagine a rabid animal, they envision an angry, overly aggressive creature wildly foaming at the mouth. And indeed, it may be the case that a fox or skunk that has the disease is quite aggressive. And although some nocturnal species that live in cities and suburbs may still be active during the day, if you see an animal out of place, that could be a sign that it has rabies.

That said, the virus doesn't always lead to violent behavior. Instead, a rabid creature can be overly timid and shy. The absence of more obvious symptoms can be dangerous because young children in particular may be attracted to a seemingly tame wild animal. All the same, your pet could be infected and not act differently enough to prompt you to seek medical attention.

Strange behavior in either direction could be a warning sign. Your best bet is to always keep your distance from wild animals. If there is an unwanted creature on your property, call a pest removal specialist to deal with the problem appropriately.

About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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