An animal that is infected with the
rabies virus can transmit it to a human. The type of
animal you are bitten by affects your chances of becoming infected with the
rabies virus. Your local health department can help you assess the risk of
rabies exposure from animals in your area.
Rodents, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, and mice, are very
unlikely to have rabies.2
Animals that are never infected with the rabies virus include:
Tame (domesticated) animals
In the United States and Canada, dogs, cats, and domestic ferrets
usually are vaccinated against rabies. The chance of getting rabies from any of
these household pets is very low. If you are bitten by one of these animals and
the animal can be confined and observed and shows no signs of rabies for 10
days, you will not need treatment.
Plotkin SA, et al. (2009). Rhabdoviridae: Rabies virus. In RD Feigin et al., eds., Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2494–2511. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Rabies. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 28th ed., pp. 552–559. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
August 27, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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