Rabies is a virus that is found in the saliva of animals. Animals that are infected with the rabies virus can actually pass it on to humans by biting them. So domesticated pets like dogs and cats can, if not given the right vaccines, probably be the greatest risk to you. Other animals that are a potential risk are bats, foxes, groundhogs and even squirrels.
Preventing the disease
The only way to protect yourself from becoming infected with the disease is to make sure that you are not close to it at all. This means that if you have pets, make sure that you bring them to your local vet and have them injected with all the right vaccines. Many health departments actually have public clinics set up just so that you can have your pets vaccinated, especially dogs and cats. If you have pets that were bitten by another animal, it is best to report these cases to the local medical authorities like animal control officers or even your vet. This is so that they can locate the animal and test to see if it is infected with the virus. The same should be done if one of your pets bites a person or yourself. This kind of knowledge will help in the fight against rabies. Additionally, if you spot any wild animals in your area or any animals that do not seem like they belong to anybody (absence of an identifying marker such as a collar), this too should be reported.
If it is too late and you are unfortunately the victim of an animal attack, the animal that bit you must be reported to the animal control authorities so that it can be caught and tested for rabies. If it is indeed infected with the disease, the animal has to be put to sleep. Your wound must be treated immediately. First it must be cleaned with soapy water. Then head off to the nearest hospital because it will need immediate medical attention. This is the sort of situation that should not be delayed.
Again, prevention is the key in battling any kind of disease. In the case of rabies, you can also do well by staying away from any areas that attract local wildlife. By minimizing your chances of exposing yourself to animals, you are also minimizing your chances of exposing yourself to the probability of infected ones. To do this, you can check your house to see if there are places where animals might be able to set up their homes or even raise their young. This includes those dark places that are attractive to rats, mice and other rodents. Block the house of any means of entry by checking the foundations of your house or the porch if you have one. If you also have a chimney, its best to cap off it if you are not using it. Encourage your neighbors to do the same thing if you share the same views about rabies. This may seem like a “borderline paranoia” type of activity but you can never be too safe.
Remember that prevention (and a little defensive preparation) will help you to stop any kind of situation especially if it has something to do with a disease that is controllable. If you are not responsible enough to have the animals in your life go through a medical checkup, then at least be prepared to protect yourself from the consequences.