Caution for Campers: How To Recognize And Protect Against Rabies

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Everybody has some vague idea about the animal-borne infectious disease, rabies. But vagueness can get you killed. Here’s a basic crash course in rabies that might just save your life or those of your loved ones some day.
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Rabies 101

Rabies is a virus that attacks the mammalian central nervous system. Animals can be vaccinated against it, but humans can’t. Instead, infected humans have to undergo a battery of shots.
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How It Spreads

Infected animals carry the rabies virus in their saliva. It usually enters the next host’s body through a bite, but any handy means will do. Infection from scratches are also common.
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Tell-Tale Signs : A Rabid Animal

Some signs are motor-skill oriented, others are behavioral. The animal may become disoriented or exhausted, or shift from a day to a night schedule. An animal might become aggressive, including the familiar ‘foaming at the mouth.’ But there could also be a sudden shyness or paranoia.
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Types Of Animals

Infection is most common in bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons, and from there to any domestic mammal, including farm animals and horses.
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Protect Your Pets And Family

Follow your state and local vaccination laws, please. It’s a simple matter of saving your pet’s life.
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Keep Wild Animals Away

Dispose of your garbage thoroughly and securely. Don’t feed wildlife, especially mammalian wildlife. Keep doors and windows secure.
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What If A Wild / Stray Bites My Pet?

Wear long sleeves and gloves when handling your pet if you suspect the other animal’s saliva might be on your pet’s fur. Seek the attention of a vet immediately.
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What If My Family Is Exposed?

You have to ask? Get yourself to an emergency room, now. Don’t worry about looking like this woman, by the way. We keep her around for extra drama.
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What If A Bat Is In My Home?

This is a clear omen that you should dedicate the rest of your life to fighting crime, preferably while dressed like a bat.
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No, Seriously. There’s A Bat.

In that case, close the windows and doors in the room where the bat is, if possible, and call Animal Control. Bat bites are small and often painless, so assume anyone in the vicinity has been bitten.
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