Rabies is a fatal infectious disease of people and other mammals caused by a virus. Rabies affects the nervous system. Infection is primarily acquired from the bite of an infected mammal. The virus is present in the saliva of the rabid animal. People can also get infected when saliva gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. It is important to recognize that domestic animals can get infected and transmit the disease. Rabies is a fatal disease and the primary goal is to prevent infection. Symptoms usually develop 10 days to 7 months after exposure, and can result in death 2-12 days later. Behavioral changes and unexplained paralysis are most indicative of rabies. Signs include anorexia, apprehension, nervousness, irritability, hyper-excitability, ataxia, change in voice, uncharacteristic aggressiveness, seeking solitude. In the furious form the animal becomes very aggressive and vicious whereas the paralytic form is associated with Occupational Health Colorado State University (970) 491-3102 Updated 10/13/09

profuse salivation and inability to swallow due to muscle paralysis. Wild animals will often display abnormal behaviors and loose fear of people and other animals.

Other diseases:

Other diseases that can be spread through working with cattle are cryptosporidiosis, giardia, salmonellosis and campylobacter through the fecal-oral route.

How to Protect Yourself

Wear gloves and wash your hands.

Wear respiratory protection. If respiratory protection is worn, it is mandatory that individuals enroll in the Respiratory Protection Program through EHS.

Wear protective clothing. Avoid wearing street clothes when working with animals.

Seek medical attention if you are injured. Contact your supervisor and Occupational Health and Safety to be instructed as to where to go to seek medical attention.

Enroll in the Occupational Health and Safety Program. Update your information on an annual basis to ensure proper medical surveillance.