Rabies is a viral infection of certain warm-blooded animals (such as skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and bats) and is caused by a virus in the Rhabdoviridae family. It attacks the nervous system and, once symptoms develop, it is 100 percent fatal in animals, if left untreated.

  • an animal that is infected is referred to as rabid
  • you can get it by being bitten or scratched by a rabid animal
  • cats are more likely than dogs to be rabid
  • there is no known treatment for rabies once symptoms of the disease occur
  • there is an effective vaccine given immediately after you've been bitten or scratched that stops the disease from developing

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches rabies
The Boston Children's Hospital Informatics Program created HealthMap, an online resource and smart phone app that helps track the spread of contagious diseases in real time, including rabies.