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Health Topics - Rabies

Rabies is caused by a virus that affects mammals. Wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, groundhogs, and fox are commonly affected. The most common domestic animal affected in New Jersey is the free-roaming cat. Rodents such as chipmunks, squirrels, rats, and mice are rarely affected. Reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds do not get rabies.

Rabies usually occurs in two forms. One is "dumb rabies." The animal usually looks sickly, has trouble walking and falls, appears to be drunk and can be paralyzed. The other form is "furious rabies." The animal is very aggressive and vicious. The animal will chase and attack other animals and humans.