A leashed German shepherd dog snarls.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects mammals, including wildlife, pets, and humans. It is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected animal.

Although rabies infections in humans are very rare, they are almost always fatal if not quickly identified and treated. Once symptoms appear, it is too late. To date, only two people worldwide have been documented to have survived clinical rabies.

If you believe you have been in contact with an animal infected with rabies, please consult a health professional immediately. If you have been in contact with a bat, or have awoken to find a bat in the room with you, please consult a health professional immediately. It is possible to contract rabies from a bat without realizing you have been bitten or scratched.

People who have been exposed to rabies may need a rabies vaccine. Today, rabies vaccines are given as a series of four injections in the arm.

For more about rabies, visit the CDC’s rabies page.

Post Tara Roth, Ph.D.

Four Things Should Know About Rabies

Rabies has achieved somewhat of a boogeyman quality due to its high risk of death and tendency to invade the nervous system but did you know that this frightening disease is actually very rare in California?

1. Rabies is very dangerous.