How Does a Squirrel Get Rabies?
In this article, we’ll talk about the symptoms of rabies, tularemia, and typhus in squirrels. In the event that a squirrel bites you, call your doctor immediately and get them tested for rabies. If you think you may have bitten a squirrel, follow these simple steps to prevent it from spreading the disease. If you’re bitten, wash the wound thoroughly with water and disinfect it with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. In case of any other symptoms, see a doctor for diagnosis.
Symptoms of rabies
If you’ve seen a dead squirrel in your yard and you’re suspicious that it may be rabies, there are several things that you should know. Rabies is a highly contagious virus. Infected animals may show signs of a fever, irritability, aggression, or drooling. The symptoms of rabies can also include confusion, abnormal behavior, or hallucinations. The disease is almost always fatal.
Rabies is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, but the virus can also be spread from one human to another through saliva on an open wound. Although rabies symptoms may take several days to appear, most people will experience itching, tingling, or prickling in the area of bite. Symptoms may also develop over several weeks to years, depending on the severity of the case. Rabies treatment is available, but it is not necessary if you have been exposed to an infected squirrel.
Although rabies is rarely transferred between humans, you should still seek medical attention if you believe your pet has been infected with the disease. The virus affects the brain within two to three days of contact and begins to produce transmittable saliva. Rabies symptoms in humans typically manifest between thirty and fifty days after the bite. In some cases, individuals will show fever, stiff muscles, fatigue, and a tingling sensation at the site of the bite. Other symptoms may include extreme thirst and exhaustion, or the infected animal might show signs of paralysis or even death. If you’ve seen a dead squirrel in your yard, seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of tularemia
Symptoms of tularemia when an infected squirrel bites a human can range from a sore throat to skin lesions. A fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea are also common. In some cases, physicians may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Because the disease is so easily aerosolized, tularemia can be a bioterrorism agent. Because it is so infectious, humans are at risk of contracting it when they handle an infected animal.
While a squirrel is not aggressive by nature, it may bite you out of defense if it senses that you’re a threat. While it’s unlikely to cause serious illness, it can be dangerous if left untreated. If you suspect a squirrel may have been bitten, wash the area thoroughly with water, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of typhus
There are several different diseases known as typhus in squirrels. These diseases are caused by the bacteria Rickettsiae. These bacteria are transmitted from one animal to another when it comes in contact with infected material. The disease has similar symptoms but different types. The bacteria that cause them vary, as does the insect that can transmit them. Thankfully, there is a way to detect the symptoms of typhus in squirrels.
Epidemic typhus, also known as louse-borne typhus, is a disease caused by Rickettsia prowazekii bacteria. Infected squirrels spread the disease by coming into contact with infected body lice, whose feces contain the bacteria. Although this disease is rare outside of highly crowded conditions, it does still occur from time to time. Squirrel lice do not tend to bite humans. Most exposure to the bacteria occurs through the inhalation of the lice’ excrement.
Symptoms of tularemia in a squirrel
Those who hunt, trap, or handle wild animals are susceptible to tularemia. The symptoms include fever, swollen lymph glands, and skin ulcers. Squirrel feces are also highly infectious and can cause gastrointestinal illness. Physicians typically treat tularemia with antibiotics. In some cases, the symptoms of tularemia can mimic other types of infections.
If you get bitten by a squirrel, you might also contract salmonella, a bacterium that can cause stomach cramps, fever, and abdominal cramps. If your pet has the disease, you may also develop joint pain, joint problems, or even a heart condition. Lastly, you might get ringworm, a fungal disease that can infect your skin. If you come into contact with a squirrel and notice any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.
Although a squirrel will rarely transmit rabies to humans, there are still symptoms that you can look for in a sick squirrel. The first symptom is fever and headache, and the condition can progress to paralysis, confusion, and death if untreated. Symptoms of tularemia in a squirrel who gets rabies should be apparent within 24 hours after contact with the infected animal.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.