Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


Abstract: Rabies is a viral disease that can be prevented through the use of vaccinations. What makes rabies such an enormous health risk is that not only is it relatively easy to come in contact with the virus, once someone experiences the onset of symptoms it is nearly impossible to treat, resulting in the death of those infected. With the incidence of rabies on the rise, as well as the movement of people into areas once inhabited by wildlife, it is important to understand the risk, grasp the facts, and know what to do to if an animal might bite. The goal of this project is to create a curriculum based on the application of scientific knowledge about the rabies virus and how transmission can be treated or prevented that is proven to be needed and can be used by California animal shelters. I surveyed over 100 animal shelters. The survey results show that a curriculum is needed and would be used by fifty of the surveyed shelters to enhance or replace current rabies education programs. The survey also showed that rabies is still considered a concern for sixty-eight of California animal shelters. A curriculum was developed that meets California Standards of Science Education for both middle and high schools. This curriculum was taught three times to three different classes. The end product was a web page with links to these new rabies curriculums, handouts, interesting rabies links, and my final capstone paper that could be accessible to anyone interested in learning about the disease. I conclude that this new rabies program was needed and would be used if available. With aggressive rabies control policies adapted by the state and effective educational programs, the spread of the disease from wildlife to pets and humans could be limited and post exposure treatments could be decreased, resulting in fewer lives lost to the virus and countless dollars saves in treatment costs.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute

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