AWARENESS AND PREVENTION TIPS
What is rabies?
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.
Rabies in humans
Rabies in humans is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care. Yet, more than 55,000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die from rabies every year - a rate of one person every ten minutes.
The most important global source of rabies in humans is from uncontrolled rabies in dogs. Children are often at greatest risk from rabies. They are more likely to be bitten by dogs, and are also more likely to be severely exposed through multiple bites in high-risk sites on the body.
This major source of rabies in humans can be eliminated through ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, educating those at risk, and enhancing access of those bitten to appropriate medical care.
The importance of vaccinating your pet
Although the majority of rabies cases occur in wildlife, most humans are given rabies vaccine as a result of exposure to domestic animals. Pets are vaccinated by your veterinarian to prevent them from acquiring the disease from wildlife, and thereby transmitting it to humans.
Therefore, it is essential to have all of your pets (both outdoor and indoor) vaccinated against rabies. Tennessee state law requires that all dogs and cats three months of age or older must receive and maintain current rabies vaccinations.
How can you prevent rabies in animals?
There are several things you can do to protect your pet from rabies.
Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.
Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
Call animal control to remove all stray domestic animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill. Sullivan County Animal Control (423) 279-2741
For cases involving wildlife (racoon, skunks, fox, coyotes, bats), contact Kritter Gitters (423)361-2247