How to Prevent Rabies
You can prevent rabies by avoiding direct contact with unfamiliar animals. Here are some suggestions to avoid rabies transmission:
- Enjoy wild animals (such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes) from a distance. Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals -- wild or domestic -- even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
- Seal off holes that animals might use as entryways into your home.
- Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
- When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries. Rabies is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where dogs are the major reservoir of rabies. Tens of thousands of people die of rabies each year in these countries. Before traveling abroad, consult with a healthcare provider, travel clinic, or your health department about the risk of exposure to rabies, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and how you should handle an exposure, should it arise.
- If bitten by an animal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water for at least five minutes and get medical help at once. Report the bite to your local health department.
(Click Rabies and Bites for more information.)