Raccoons are commonly known to carry rabies.

SANTA MONICA—It is common knowledge that California is experiencing a major drought, which is not only causing problems with agriculture, but also with local wildlife.

Due to extreme temperatures, wild animals are finding it difficult to locate viable water sources. As a result, they are traveling closer to domestic homes. Residents of California are used to viewing certain species of wildlife, such as possums and raccoons, as potential carriers of rabies. Now it’s not just possums and raccoons that people have to worry about, but also foxes, coyotes, and many other animals that are coming out of the woodwork. The real danger that people face is that, unlike pets, wild animals are more susceptible to rabies because they lack treatment such as vaccination.

Rabies is a disease that can cause inflammation to the brain. Animals spread the disease through saliva, so if a person is bitten by an animal with rabies it can be life threatening if not treated immediately. Rabies is also deadly for animals that contract the disease.

Rabies can easily be misdiagnosed, so if a person is bitten by a wild animal it is important that they seek medical treatment immediately. The disease is completely preventable; residents are urged to be as vigilant as possible around wild animals. Pet owners are asked to make sure their pets are vaccinated.