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Rabies is a disease that attacks the nervous system of many mammals, including humans. It is caused by the rabies virus. Once symptoms begin, rabies is nearly always fatal. In humans, it usually takes 3 to 8 weeks after exposure to the virus to begin having symptoms.
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Rabies is spread when an infected animal’s saliva or nervous system tissue comes in contact with a break in the skin, (such as a bite, scrape or other wound) or with a mucous membrane (like the inside of the nose, mouth or eyes). The most common way rabies is spread is by a bite from an infected animal. Rabies can also be spread by licks or scratches.
Rabies virus is shed in the saliva of an infected dog or cat for 5 days before it shows signs of rabies. If a dog or cat bites a human, the law requires it to be quarantined to watch for signs of rabies disease. If your pet has contact with an animal that might have rabies, do the following:
You cannot tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it. All contact with bats should be avoided. If a bat is in your home, do the following:
Remember, bat bites can’t always be seen by looking at the skin. They are often not painful and might not wake up a sleeping person.
The following people need treatment to prevent rabies diseases: