Rabies is a disease, caused by a virus, which can infect all mammals, including humans. The rabies virus is transmitted through contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of an infected mammal. Transmission of the rabies virus is typically through a bite that breaks the skin. When an exposed person or animal is not treated quickly, the rabies virus may infect the person or animal and could result in death.
Rabies is almost always fatal to animals and people once symptoms of the disease appear, which is why the State of California mandates reporting of all animal bites for the protection of the victim; whether person or animal.
Investigation of an animal bite includes determining if the animal has a current rabies vaccination at the time of the bite and monitoring the health of the animal during a quarantine period, usually ten days. Often, quarantined pets may be isolated (quarantined) at their homes. Immediate treatment of the human victim's wounds includes standard cleaning and sanitation, but could also include post-exposure rabies vaccinations to prevent the development of the disease.
If you have any reason to believe that there has been a possible transmission of the rabies virus, whether from a pet or wildlife, immediately contact your local animal control agency.
Butte County has many veterinary clinics that offer low-cost vaccination clinics. Remember, the only protection against rabies is to vaccinate your dogs, cats, horses, and other livestock.