Rabies virus infection can cause acute encephalitis in mammals, including humans.

If notifiable disease is suspected, contact the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or your local DAERA Direct Regional Office. Failure to do so is an offence

How is Rabies spread?

The virus is usually spread by saliva from the bite of an infected animal. Once clinical signs of the disease develop it is invariably fatal.

Clinical signs include paralysis, and behavioural abnormalities leading to a painful death. Over the last three decades, significant advances have been made in our understanding of the disease, the molecular structure of the virus, species adaptation, vaccination and diagnostic tests.

A definitive diagnosis can only be made by laboratory testing after the animal’s death. Incubation is often prolonged and variable, causing problems both in delineating disease spread and in proving disease freedom. 

In the developed world the incidence of disease is now controllable and can be eradicated. Wildlife vaccination has eliminated the disease in substantial areas of mainland Europe and allowed for some countries to be classified as rabies free.

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