Animal Bites and Rabies
What if I am bitten?
- Thoroughly wash the wound with soap and running water.
- Gather as much information about the animal as possible.
- Contact your physician as soon as possible and notify your local public health unit as well as local law enforcement.
What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is transmitted from infected mammals to humans and is invariably fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, human rabies is rare in the United States due to widespread vaccination of pets and the use of rabies vaccine after exposure.
How is rabies spread?
Exposure usually occurs through a bite, but scratches and contact of saliva with broken skin and mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth) are also possible routes of transmission. Do not keep or handle wild animals. In North Dakota, it is illegal to keep a skunk or raccoon as a pet. Rabies is contracted by exposure to a rabid animal.