Rabies is a preventable fatal infectious viral disease that is transmitted through a bite from a rabid animal, with the percentage of recent cases being the bite of a bat. Others on the list to avoid are:
A bat that is active during the day, in an unusual spot, not able to fly or is easily approached, is more likely rabid. Therefore, bat handling is highly discouraged.
As rabies progresses, neurological symptoms start to appear, like:
- swallowing difficulty
- slight/partial paralysis
- hydrophobia ~ fear of water
Within days of the onset of these symptoms, death usually occurs.
If you are bitten by a suspected rabid animal, wash your bite wound thoroughly with soap and water, then seek immediate medical attention. Whenever possible, the biting animal should be captured for testing.
Your best chances for survival is a PEP regime of shots as soon as possible. It consists of one dose of immune globulin and five doses of rabies vaccine over a 28-day period. This regiment use to be a painful series of stomach shots, but are now simply shots in your arm.