Rabies risks and causes

Causes and Risk Factors of Rabies

Human rabies is extremely rare in the United States. In fact, only one to three cases are reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 Still, it’s important to understand the causes and risk factors for rabies so that you can protect yourself and your family from this potentially life-threatening disease.

Rabies is an infection caused by a virus of the genus Lyssavirus. Typically transmitted by saliva, the rabies virus usually enters the body through a bite by an infected animal. Although rabies was once most commonly linked to dog bites, more cases in the United States are now associated with bites from bats and other animals.

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