Rabies is a viral disease of mammals and is transmitted primarily through bites to humans. Less often, contamination through open wounds or mucous membranes with saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal could potentially constitute an exposure.
Rabies is found naturally in Missouri, occurring primarily in bats and skunks, although other domestic species such as dogs, cats, horses, and cattle are infected each year. Rabies in humans is almost invariably fatal once symptoms appear.
Fortunately anti-rabies shots have been developed for persons exposed to the virus to prevent infection.
Each spring, the Adair County Health Department and a local veterinary clinic co-sponsor a rabies clinic in Novinger.
Dogs, cats, and ferrets can receive the rabies vaccine for a discounted price (additional vaccines will also be available on-site at a discounted rate).
Things you can do to protect yourself from rabies include:
- Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. This not only protects your pets from rabies, but is a barrier of protection for you.
- Call animal control to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Never handle, feed or intentionally attract wild animals.
- Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces such as homes, churches or schools.
- When traveling abroad, avoid contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries as rabies is common in many developing countries.