(WTNH) -- What is Rabies? It's a viral disease that affect the central nervous system, and it's found in raccoons, skunks, bats and dogs if they aren't vaccinated. The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) says it's usually spread from a bite from an infected animal, but saliva getting into an open wound can also lead to rabies.
According to the Food and Drug Administration , one person dies from rabies somewhere in the world every ten minutes. More than 55,000 people die from rabies every year, mostly in Africa and Asia.
- General weakness or discomfort
"As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia," the CDC says on its website. "Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive."
Here in Connecticut, 195 cases of rabies were reported in 2011, the DPH said, and more than 900 cases between 2007-2011 (see the summary below). For example, the town of Fairfield recorded 43 cases of Rabies, including 10 from bats, 27 from raccoons and 6 from skunks, in 2011. For a list of rabies cases in your town and county visit the DPH website .
Rabies had a resurgence in Connecticut in 1991 when rabid raccoons entered Fairfield County, according to the DPH, and in four years rabies spread to all counties in the state. Rabies testing is done at a DPH run laboratory, which "allows the DPH to monitor the occurrence of rabies among wild and domestic animals."
The FDA says animals in the early stage of rabies may not show any signs, but if they bite you they can infect you. So how can you protect your pets and yourself from rabies? The FDA advises :
- Enjoy wildlife from a distance.
- Do not approach a stray animal—report it to your local animal control agency.
- Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all cats, dogs, and ferrets.
- Supervise your pets so they do not come in contact with wild animals.
- If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water for at least five minutes and get medical help at once.
Rabies Cases in Connecticut
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