Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The rabies virus is transmitted from infected mammals to humans (typically via a bite) and is almost always deadly if not treated before symptoms begin. The majority of rabies cases are from wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

Exposure to rabies may be be reduced by the taking the following measures:
  • Eliminate stray dogs and cats and enforce leash laws.
  • Vaccinate pet dogs, cats, ferrets, and livestock against rabies.
  • Stay away from all wild animals, especially those acting abnormally.
  • Teach your children not to approach any unfamiliar animals.
  • Do not keep exotic or wild animals as pets, regardless of how young or cute they are.
  • Exclude bats from living quarters by keeping screens in good repair and by closing any small openings that could allow them to enter.
  • Persons traveling to developing countries in which rabies is highly prevalent, or persons who are at ongoing risk of possible rabies exposure (e.g., veterinarians, animal control officers), should ask their doctor about receiving the PRE-exposure rabies vaccinations.
If you are bitten by an animal be sure to wash the wound immediately with soap and running water for at least five minutes. See a physican immediately, even for minor wounds.Confine the pet and contact your local veterinarian or law enforcement. If the bite is from a wild or stray animal, do not try to capture the animal unless you are sure you can do so without incurring injury. Do not destroy the animal that bit a human or other animal; contact local law enforcement or the Lincoln County Health Department. If an animal suspected of having rabies cannot be observed or tested, or if it tests positive for rabies, treatment of the individual with rabies immune globulin and the vaccine series must begin immediately. Vaccine injections are given in the arm.

Additional Resources:
Lincoln County Health Department "Rabies"
WI DHS "Rabies"
CDC "Rabies"