Rabies is a preventable viral disease most frequently transmitted through the bite of a rabid mammalian animal. The saliva of an infected animal that comes in contact with an open wound, a fresh abrasion or scratch, or the eye, can also transmit rabies. Rabies can also be transmitted through infected brain and nervous system tissue. It is important to note that you can only get the rabies virus by coming in to contact with the aforementioned body excretions and tissues. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system (CNS), and ultimately causes disease in the brain and death.
If you have come in contact with an actual or suspected rabid animal's saliva or brain/nervous tissue, it is important that you seek medical attention for appropriate follow-up and care. Based on the type of exposure that occurred, your doctor or the health bureau may recommend that you receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.
Raccoons, skunks, bats and groundhogs are among some of the high-risk group of wild animals to transmit the virus. Unvaccinated cats and dogs are a threat to spread the disease, as they have frequent contact with humans and animals, both wild and domestic.
If you have read through all of the above information pertaining to animal bites and rabies and have additional questions, please contact:
The Bethlehem Health Bureau:
Phone: (610) 865-7083
If you require assistance during hours when the Bethlehem Health Bureau is closed, including weekends, please contact the Bethlehem Police Department's non-emergency number.
Bethlehem Police Department Non-Emergency Number: (610) 865-7187