Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
CDC Home

Rabies Virus

Rabies is a disease that affects the brain. It´s usually passed from animal to animal but it can be passed from animals to people. It´s caused by a virus. A virus is a very tiny germ, and you can only see that germ if you have a special microscope.


Any mammal can get rabies. Do you remember what a mammal is? Mammals are warm-blooded animals with fur. We´re mammals, and so are most of our pets like cats and dogs. Lots of farm animals like cows and horses are mammals, and so are wild animals like foxes and skunks. We can all get rabies. Even bats can get rabies!


In the United States, raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats are the main animals that get rabies.

Rabies is a big problem in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Medicines and vaccines are sometimes not available there, so if someone is bitten by an animal with rabies, they might not be able to get help right away.

Rabies is a serious disease. This year, over 59,000 people around the world will die from rabies. That´s one person every 9 minutes. Half of the people who die from rabies are under the age of 15. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO