Rabies is a viral disease which affects all mammals. It is contracted through transmission can occur if the virus is introduced into any mucous membrane (eyes, nose, throat). The time it takes the virus to go from the bite wound to the brain is the incubation period. The incubation period can range from two weeks to several months. Once the virus reaches the brain the animal becomes infectious.
Symptoms of rabies are:
- Unexplained aggression
- Impaired locomotion
- Varying degree of paralysis
- Extreme depression or viciousness
In any situation where a human or a domestic animal is exposed (bitten or scratched) by a wild animal, the wild animal should be immediately killed and tested for rabies.
Here are some simple prevention steps you can take:
- Keep your pets rabies vaccination up to date
- Feed your pets indoors. Feeding them outdoors may attract wild animals – make sure your trashcans are secured with lids
- Report sick or disoriented wildlife to your Town Animal Control Officer
- Never touch wildlife with your hands. If you must handle them, use heavy gloves or a shovel.
- If you pet has encountered a wild animal – DO NOT touch your pet with bare hands – the virus could be present on their fur. USE GLOVES
Report all exposures incidents to your Animal Control Officer – South Hadley, Robert Dufault, 413-533-0170 or Robert Whelihan 413-534-5900 or your local Board of Health, Sharon D. Hart, Health Director, 116 Main Street – 413-538-5013.