SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Santa Barbara County Public Health brings awareness to World Rabies Day on Monday.
The County Public Health Department is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recognizing World Rabies Day on September 28.
The theme this year is "End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate".
Public Health says rabies is a preventable viral disease that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.
Public Health recommends for all warm-blooded domestic pets to get their rabies vaccinations.
They say rabies can pass from wild animals, commonly bats and skunks in Santa Barbara County, to pets. Although transmission to humans is rare, the disease is nearly always fatal.
Public Health advises that if someone has been bitten, scratched or been in contact with any wildlife or unfamiliar animals, they should talk to their healthcare provider as soon as possible to determine their risk for rabies or other illnesses.
Public Health warns that many types of bats have very small teeth which may leave marks that disappear quickly and can easily be missed.
They want to remind that it is important to report animal bites or scratches. They say it is especially important to report when animals has symptoms of rabies including agitation, biting, snapping, drooling and others.
The nearest County Animal Services office to report these incidents are the following:
They say community members can protect their pets by keeping them indoors at night, walking them with a leash, scanning the yard for wildlife before allowing them outside and not leaving food outside that will attract wildlife.