Rabies is caused by a virus in the saliva of an infected animal. Any mammal (a warm blooded animal with fur), including bats, can get rabies. In the United States, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats are the main animals that get rabies. Rabies can be passed to a human, pet, or farm animal by a bite or a scratch from a rabid animal. If this occurs, follow-up is needed right away.
It is always best to stay away from wild animals, including stray dogs and cats, and to be careful with other people's pets. People who have been bitten need to see their health care provider about the need for tetanus, antibiotics, and to discuss the need for rabies prophylaxis. The bite must be cleaned well with warm water and soap.
If you see a stray animal, an animal acting strangely, or if you are bitten, notify animal control for your area. In Calumet County, your local police department has authority for animal control. And always make sure your pet is up-to-date with their vaccinations including rabies.