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The Rabies virus is usually caused by a bite from an animal infected* with rabies. Rabies is a disease that affects the brain. Most cases of rabies are found in wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.


How can I get sick? 

  • Through the bite of an infected* animal but also can be from non-bite contacts such as scratches or if cuts or an open wound is exposed to infected* spit.  
  • Direct contact with an infected* animal’s spit or brain matter.  

Symptoms in humans:  

Initial symptoms 

  • Tiredness 
  • Discomfort 
  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal)  

  • Headache
  • Itchiness at the site of the bite

Symptoms in animals:  

  • Acting scared 
  • Anger 
  • Drooling a lot 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Staggering* 
  • Paralysis (loss of movement in a part of the body) 
  • Seizures*
  • Behavioral changes 
    • Depression (feeling of sadness) 
    • Aggression (acting angry or mad) 

What can I do to stay healthy? 

Prevention in humans  

  • Avoid contact with wildlife such as raccoons, bats, and skunks. 
  • If you come across injured or dead wild animals, click here to report to Nevada Department of Wildlife. 
  • Since pets can get rabies, it is important to prevent rabies in your dogs or cats (see below).  
  • Make sure that your children are taught how to approach animals to reduce any chance of being bit.  

Prevention in animals 

  • To keep your pets healthy and safe, see your veterinarian for regular check-ups.  
  • Make sure your pets are current with their vaccines, especially their rabies vaccine. 
  • Keep your pets close to make sure they do not come in contact with wildlife. 
  • If you notice stray animals or animals that look sick, make sure to contact your local animal control.  

Vaccine: There is a vaccine available to prevent rabies in animals and humans. If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, please see your doctor immediately for information on the rabies vaccine. For animals, make sure to see your veterinarian routinely to keep up to date on all vaccinations including the rabies vaccine. 

If you have been bitten by an animal, click here for more information on what to do.


  • Infected: When germs get inside of a body, animal, or an organism.  
  • Staggering: Loss of balance, walking or moving like you are about to fall.   
  • Seizures: Abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which can usually cause shaking all over and losing control of your body.  
  • Vaccines*: Shots given to humans and animals to keep them healthy and safe.  


Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.