Rabies

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral neuroinvasive disease that causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in warm-blooded animals.  It is zoonotic, i.e. transmitted by animals to humans, most commonly by a bite from an infected animal, but occasionally when infected saliva contacts an open wound.

  • Rabies virus becomes noninfectious when it dries out and when it is exposed to sunlight.
  • Different environmental conditions affect the rate at which the virus becomes inactive, but in general, if the material containing the virus is dry, the virus can be considered noninfectious.
squirrelrabies
  • Although any mammal can contract and transmit rabies, it is most often acquired from wild carnivorous mammals, such as bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and skunks.
  • Rodents, except beavers, are typically immune to rabies.

    There is a bat or another possibly rabid animal in my house, what should I do?

    The Davis County Animal Control should be notified immediately at 801-444-2200.  In most cases the animal control officer will remove the animal.  This is considered an emergency.  After hours call 911.

  • If a bat is found inside one’s house after sleeping or with any young children not under surveillance when the bat entered, it should always be treated as an exposure.
  • The bat should be captured and tested for rabies.
  • The bat should be stored on ice or under refrigeration, not in a freezer.

    What do I do if I believe I was exposed to a rabid animal or bat?

    All calls concerning human illness due to possible rabies should be transferred to the Davis County Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Division’s on call telephone number, 801-525-5200.

    What are the symptoms of rabies?

    After exposure, rabies travels along the peripheral nerves to the brain.  It can be treated during this phase.

  • Generally, no symptoms are presented until after the virus reaches the brain.
  • Once symptoms are presented, death occurs within two weeks, varying by species.

Human early-stage symptoms of rabies are malaise, headache and fever, later progressing to more serious ones, including acute pain, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, depression and inability to swallow water.  Finally, the patient may experience periods of mania and lethargy, followed by coma.  The primary cause of death is usually respiratory insufficiency.

How do I tell if an animal is rabid?

Rabies usually presents in animals in two forms, hydrophobia or paralysis rabies, sometimes called “dumb” rabies.

Animals with rabies most often exhibit behavior changes such as a friendly dog that becomes withdrawn or belligerent, an aloof animal that becomes suddenly affectionate, or an animal that demonstrates unusual aggression.  They may eat or chew things such as wood, soil, stones, plants, or other foreign objects.  One of the most recognizable signs is excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth.  Other signs may include a change in voice so that it is hoarse, with a throaty bark or snarl, dilated pupils, vacant stare, muscle tremors (especially in cats), varying degrees of paralysis frequently beginning at the head and neck causing jaws to hang open, and or impaired locomotion.

Contact Information

Physical Address
22 South State Street
2nd Floor
Clearfield, Utah 84015

Mailing Address
Davis County Health Department
Environmental Health Services Division
P.O. Box 618
Farmington, Utah 84025

Phone Numbers
(801) 525-5100 :: Main
(801) 525-5119 :: Fax

Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except legal holidays)

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Copyright © 2015 Davis County Government
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