Who do you call if you run into a rabid animal

Thousands of people die from rabies every year
Posted at 12:24 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 17:20:38-04

It's two in the afternoon, and you hear something rattle the trash cans outside. You go out to take a gander, only to see a raccoon going to town on leftovers that have been sitting in your fridge for weeks.

What do you do? You're certainly not going to go up and coddle that weird looking animal. You walk back inside and get in contact with the SPCA Wildlife department. 

If you or a pet gets into a skirmish with an animal that is behaving oddly such as exhibiting aggressive behavior, hind legs are dragging or foam coming out of the mouth, you are asked to call your County Health Department as soon as possible. You can find a listing of contacts right here.

It is important to wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Rabies is transferred through saliva, brain and nervous system tissue. Washing the infected area will decrease your chances of getting the disease. 

For humans, rabies symptoms are similar to the flu. Fever, headaches may last for days. An urge to itch the area infected as well as confusion, anxiety, agitation may occur as the disease progresses into the brain. Abnormal behavior such as delirium and hallucinations at the extreme. 

It's important that you see a doctor as soon as you can. He or she will decide whether you need to be vaccinated. You typically receive of doses of vaccination over a two week time period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the vaccines are painless and are administered through the arm. 

The good news is that rabies is preventable. Taking your pets to the vet to get vaccinated, as well as staying away from wildlife are just a few ways to protect you and your pets from rabies. Erie County Health Department is offering a free rabies clinic in September.

Rabies is a deadly disease. Close to 59,000 people across the world die of rabies every year. That's one person every 9 minutes. Health costs tied to rabies in the U.S. alone every year add up to $500 million a year

There's only been 10 recorded cases where humans have had rabies and survived.