Learn about rabies virus and view surveillance data

Rabies is a very serious viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals (if an animal has hair or fur, it is a mammal). Rabies is usually a disease of animals, but it can spread from an infected animal to a person. In people, the disease can be prevented by getting vaccinated after exposure; otherwise, the disease is fatal. The animals that most commonly carry rabies in Massachusetts are raccoons, skunks and bats.