Rabies is a deadly disease that any mammal, including people, can get through contact with the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite or a scratch. Though any mammal can get rabies, most animal cases in the United States occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Worldwide, for most human cases of rabies, the infected person got rabies from a dog bite.1 Vaccinating pets, like dogs, cats, and ferrets, is one of the best ways to prevent people from getting rabies. It is also required by law in New York State.2
Our Department helps prevent the spread of rabies by providing no-cost public Rabies Clinics each year and by investigating all animal bites and wild animal exposures in the County. Our investigations allow us to provide exposed people and animals with prompt Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. We collaborate extensively with law enforcement, local veterinary offices, and the Humane Society in our efforts to prevent rabies.
Rabies is almost always fatal, but through pet vaccination and timely Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, human rabies cases can be prevented.3