WHAT IS IT?
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals transmitted in the saliva of an infected animal. It is transmitted when the infected animal bites another mammal. Rabies in humans is 100% preventable by vaccination. In the United States, the rabies virus is mostly transmitted by wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Rabies is endemic in Georgia.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Slight/Partial Paralysis
- Difficulty swallowing
- Fear of water
Rabies infection varies but symptoms usually begin 1 to 3 months after being bitten. Death usually occurs 2 to 10 days after the onset of these symptoms. At this point rabies is nearly always fatal. Treatment is typically supportive.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CONTRACTING THIS DISEASE?
Report the bite/exposure to animal control. The animal will undergo a 10-day quarantine, if it can be located, to determine if Rabies Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is needed. The Cobb County Animal Control (CCAC) phone number is (770) 499-4136. The Douglas County Animal Control (DCAC) phone number is (770) 942-5961.
There is a vaccine against the rabies virus. There is no known treatment for rabies once a person begins to exhibit signs of the disease.
Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) series:
- Day 0- One dose of human rabies immune globulin and one dose of rabies vaccine. Must be done at Emergency Room
- Day 3- One dose of rabies vaccine. Can be done at Urgent Care, Emergency Room, Primary care physician, or at the Health Department.
- Day 7- One dose of rabies vaccine. Can be done at Urgent Care, Emergency Room, Primary care physician, or at the Health Department.
- Day 14- One dose of rabies vaccine. Can be done at Urgent Care, Emergency Room, Primary care physician, or at the Health Department.
- If a person has received Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis then they only need the Day 0 and Day 3 dose of the vaccine and no rabies immune globulin.
Other steps you can take to help prevent rabies:
- Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for your pet.
- Keep your cats indoors and keep your dogs on a leash when outside.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets.
- Call Animal Control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood because these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.