Of all the wild animal diseases, rabies is probably the best known, but it is usually a misunderstood disease. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite. It can affect all mammals, not just raccoons, skunks, dogs and cats. Recently, a rancher had to put down his cow that had been bitten by a rabid wild animal, and the cow tested positive for rabies. Domestic animals and people with high-risk jobs (like trappers who remove wild animals from homes and other buildings) can receive vaccinations. Domestic animals who are known to have been exposed to a rabid animal are required to either be placed in 6 month quarantine, at the owner’s expense, or must be euthanized. People who have been exposed to a rabid animal must receive a series of rabies shots, which are quite costly, around $5,000 to $7,000. There is no cure for rabies. It’s a viral disease that attacks the nervous system, and is always fatal unless treated in a timely manner. Symptoms can take as much as a year to present, which means a person who was bitten or scratched by a rabid animal must be treated immediately, even if they aren’t suffering any symptoms, yet. As many as 50,000 people die every year from rabies. 7,000 to 8,000 rabid animals are found to have rabies each year in the United States, with more than 90% occurring in wild animals. The actual numbers may be much higher than that, however, since the only way to confirm rabies is by killing the animal and testing the carcass. Human deaths from rabies are rare in the United States, but they do happen when someone either doesn’t know they have been bitten by a rabid animal, or they fail to seek proper medical care. Bats in the United States have very small teeth, and can bite a sleeping person without the person knowing. This is why health officials recommend seeking medical attention if a person wakes up with a bat in the room. They may have been bitten as they were sleeping.
Rabies is, of course, not the only disease that can be transmitted to humans, pets or other domestic animals from wild animals. Diseases can be transmitted through the urine or feces of animals and birds, and animals can carry parasites and other bugs that can infest an area where they are living, which in turn cause harm or illness to people. This is why it is so important to have a professional wildlife animal control company send a crew to remove the wild animals from your home, outbuildings, industrial buildings, offices, or anywhere else in or on your property. It is healthier and safer for you and the wild animals to have them out of your property and back in their own habitat.