Rabies / Zoonoses


What are zoonoses? (zo-o-no'-sez-) These are diseases that can be spread from animals to humans under natural conditions, such as rabies, west nile virus, salmonella, monkey pox, sars, and plague to mention a few of the more well know zoonoses.


Rabies is a potentially fatal viral disease that affects the nervous system. It is most commonly spread by a bite from an infected animal. All mammals are capable of being infected with rabies, but it is most often seen in wild mammals such as raccoons, skunk, fox, and bat with occasional spillover into other species. Domestic animals, like cats, dogs, ferrets and livestock can also get rabies if they are not protected by vaccination. Some animals almost never get rabies. These include wild rabbits, squirrels, opossum, chipmunks, rats, mice, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters.

Did you know that animals need to be vaccinated every 3 years against rabies? There are two main reasons for vaccinating your pet: to keep them from getting rabies, and to protect yourself. At any time your pet could come in contact with an animal that could potentially be carrying rabies, including: raccoons, bats, skunks, coyotes, and foxes.

Did you also know that if your animal is unvaccinated and gets in a "scuffle" with a potentially rabid animal they will have to be quarantined? Quarantine means that your dog, cat, or other loved pet is isolated from humans. That means no playing, cuddling, or any contact to a human! Quarantines last for 6 months!

World Rabies Day is September 28th, 2016, so please remember to vaccinate your pets against Rabies. Remember, pets are family too!

Rabies in Bats

Although bats are beneficial to our environment, they are mammals and can be infected with rabies. Exposures occur in the same manner that they do with other mammals. A bats teeth are very small and very sharp, in certain instances, it could be possible for a bite from a bat to go undetected. Such situations may occur when a bat is found next to a an unattended young child or pet, or when a bat is found in a room with a person who is sleeping. If there is any chance that a bat may have had contact with a person or pet, the bat should be captured if possible and placed into a secure container so it can be tested for rabies. Call your local health agency for further advice.

If you are absolutely certain that there has been no contact between a bat found in your home and any human or pet, open a window and watch the bat until you see it leave.

To capture a bat, confine the bat to one room if possible and turn on the lights. Close all the windows, closets, and doors. Stand quietly and wait for the bat to land. Wearing gloves, place a coffee can, or similar container over the bat. Slide a piece of cardboard under the container trapping the bat inside. Holding the cardboard firmly against the top turn it right side up and tape the cardboard tightly to the container, then call your local health agency for further advise. If you cannot capture the bat call Wayne County Public Health or 911 for assistance.