Any mammal can be infected with Rabies. Some of the most common animals that transmit the infection are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes.
When untreated, rabies in humans is almost always fatal. It is estimated that every year 30,000-40,000 U.S. residents are potentially exposed to rabies, requiring human rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
If exposed to rabies a person can expect to receive a series of five shots for vaccination. Another shot, rabies immunoglobin, will have to be administered immediately after exposure to slow the spread of the virus until the body can produce its own antibodies. This series of shots can cost from $1,500 to $2,500, and any animals that have contracted the virus would have to be euthanized.
Rabies at home
Although the majority of rabies cases occur in wildlife, most humans are exposed to the virus as a result of an encounter with an infected domestic animal. Keeping pets, including cats and dogs, up-to-date on vaccinations, is a primary means of helping to prevent rabies in humans and domestic animals. Denver Municipal Animal Shelter provides rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs. Learn more.