How much do you know about rabies?

Rabies is a virus that is normally spread by the bite of an infected (rabid) animal. The virus is almost always fatal without proper post-exposure treatment.

In Germany, including in the Rheinland-Pfalz area, the risk for rabies is very low. Wild animals known to carry rabies in Germany are foxes and bats.

Rabies is still common in more than 150 countries and is often found in stray dogs, cats and other wild animals. You can protect yourself and your family by reducing your exposure to rabies and seeking care if exposed.

How can I reduce my exposure to rabies?

  • Vaccinate pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) on a regular basis. You can schedule appointments with the Pulaski Veterinary Clinic by calling 493-4444 or 0631-3406-4444.
  • Avoid contact with stray and unfamiliar animals.
  • Avoid and report dogs and cats that appear unusually hostile, confused or timid.
  • Do not handle wild animals, especially bats.
  • Minimize situations that attract wild and stray animals, such as leaving the lids of your outside trash cans open and leaving pet food out.
  • During daylight hours, be particularly careful of wild animals that are not normally out during the day, such as bats.

How can I reduce the risk of rabies during and after my deployment?

  • Avoid contact with stray and unfamiliar animals.
  • Never “adopt” stray animals as mascots.
  • Immediately report all bites and scratches to your supervisor and seek care from a health care provider. Make sure to clean wound with mild soap and water before seeking care.

Altered behavior may be one of the first signs of rabies — nocturnal animals seen during daylight, normally timid animals becoming more bold, etc.

Who can I contact if I see a stray animal on base or in base housing?
Contact 786th Civil Engineer Squadron Customer Service at 489-6623/7703/7107 or 0631-536-6623.

What are the symptoms of rabies in humans?
Early symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat and feeling tired. Advanced symptoms include pain and tingling at the place where bitten, seeing things that aren´t really there, a fear of water because of sudden tightening of the muscles in the throat, paralysis and the inability to move parts of the body.

When should I seek treatment?
Seek medical care right away if bitten by an animal that you suspect could have rabies. In people, it can take several months to show signs of rabies. By the time symptoms begin to show, the disease is almost always fatal. If you relocate or return from a deployment before finishing post-exposure treatment, make sure to notify a provider at your new location.

For more information, including prevention tips, contact the public health department at 479-2086 or 06371-46-2086, or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

(Courtesy of 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron)