Dogs are not the primary source of rabies anymore, but the virus has not disappeared.

For years, people have always been afraid of getting bit by a dog. Besides the fear of the pain, there was also fear of getting rabies. But in the early 40’s, the United States pushed hard to have all dogs vaccinated for rabies. Since that time, the number of deaths from rabies has been greatly reduced. These days, most of those reported deaths have come from wild animals, not dogs.

The problem with rabies is how quickly they become lethal. Without fast treatment, the virus quickly travels throughout the whole body and into the brain. This will lead to the person becoming delirious and extremely confused. Regardless of what animal transmitted the disease, it is fatal if left untreated.

Researchers have been noticing an increase in rabies-infected bats. The rabid bats tend to be found near their nesting homes in the woods and at campgrounds. About 6 in 100 bats are found to be rabid, but they have been seen more and more as the source of rabies bites.

Rabies has become a much bigger worldwide problem as almost 59,000 people die from rabies each year outside of the United States. People shouldn’t assume that an animal infected with rabies will become violent. In many cases, the animal will be more timid than usual. They note that a normal bat would never allow you the opportunity to get anywhere near them. However, if you notice you are able to get closer to a bat than normal, you should be concerned that it may have rabies.

The US Department of Agriculture is currently working on ways to vaccinate animals in the wild such as coyotes, foxes, and raccoons.