What is it
Rabies is a viral disease caused by a virus infecting the central nervous system.
All the mammals, including man, can be infected; however, it usually affects pets (dogs and cats) and wild animals, above all the fox, which is the “reservoir” of the virus in nature.
The virus is present in the saliva of the infected animals and is transmitted with a bite. Further ways of transmission can also include the lapping by the animal on sections with a non intact skin or the contact of the infected saliva with the mucosa.
Effects on Man
For man, rabies is a mortal disease.
Every year in the world, over 50,000 people die of rabies, above all children; most cases are registered in the developing Countries.
Rabies in Italy
Rabies was eliminated from the national territory in 1995 thanks to intense vaccination campaigns, but survived in Eastern European Countries. In October 2008, the disease appeared again in Italy, in Friuli Venezia Giulia. In November 2009, the presence of the disease was registered in Venetia, in Lozzo di Cadore. On 17th December 2009, the cases in the province of Belluno were 28.
In order to hinder the diffusion of the disease, Regione del Veneto has ordered the compulsory vaccination for all the resident dogs in the provinces of Belluno and Treviso (and in the some Municipalities of the provinces of Vicenza and Venice).
Moreover, an intense fox vaccination campaign has been carried out with the distribution of bits.
Rules of Behavior
In Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, no cases of rabies have been registered yet. However, in order to reduce as much as possible the eventual risks of infection, it is recommended to visitors:
- to avoid any contact with wild animals and with any unknown domestic animal, even if it seems to be social
- in case you find dead animals, do not touch them, but inform about their presence and location the agents of the National Forest Service
- to inform the agents of the National Forest Service about any strange behavior of wild animals.
In case of bite, wash the wound with abundant water and soap for at least 15 minutes and immediately contact your general practitioner or the public health service of ULS, that is the subject in charge of administering the eventual post-infection anti-rabies treatment. In case it is Saturday, Sunday, or any other day of holiday, contact the nearest Emergency Ward.
In the Park, dogs are admitted only if they are on leash and if they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before and no more than 11, 23 or 35 months before according to the validity of the vaccination used, as established by the producer.