Rabies is a viral disease which attacks nerve and brain tissue. In Idaho, wild animals account for the highest number of reported rabies cases. These are raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats. Rarely infected are rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits and hamsters.
Vaccinate your dog and cat. Pets are more likely to be bitten by wild animals. Vaccinating your dog and cat not only protects the pet, but also protects family members who come in contact with the pet.
Avoid strange-acting animals both domestic and wild. Teach your children to stay away from wild animals and unknown dogs and cats. Make sure they tell you if they are bitten or scratched by an animal. Don't attempt to catch or keep wild animals as pets.
What should I do if I am bitten by an animal?
A disease that is transmitted to humans or other animals by an insect or other arthropod is called a vector-borne disease. In Idaho, the vectors of most concern are mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.
There are mosquito species in Idaho that can transmit disease causing organisms to people and animals. West Nile Fever, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis are all mosquito borne diseases.
Rodents and Diseases
In Idaho, the deer mouse is known to carry the virus that causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. People are normally infected when they breathe in dust particles carrying the virus from deer mouse feces and urine.
Special precautions need to be taken when cleaning a building (house, cabin, shed, etc). Check sleeping bags and tents for rodent infestation before going on a camping trip.
Norway Rats are common carriers of vectors and various organisms that can cause disease. If there are rats nesting near your home, there are actions that can be taken to safely remove the nest.
Always remember rats need three things for them to maintain their nest:
Mosquito West Nile Virus Call List
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