Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Ask Buck

Rabies from a Hydration Unit?

Can you get rabies or other diseases by using a bite valve that some animal has been nibbling on? Will alcohol sanitizer "sterilize" it?

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Question:

Can you get rabies or other diseases by using a bite valve that some animal has been nibbling on? Will alcohol sanitizer “sterilize” it?

Submitted by – Dan, Paradise Valley, AZ

Answer:

So far, no known case of rabies in humans has been proven to come from anything other than a bite or scratch of a rabid animal, or from receiving an organ transplant from another human who had rabies. There are, however, a few cases of rabies in humans where the source of the virus remains unknown.

Rabies outside a host is not a very strong virus. It is killed with a thorough wash with soap and water. Also recommended are antiviral substances such as povidone-iodine and benzalkonium chloride (both easily available over the counter). A 70-percent solution of alcohol has been proven lethal to the virus.

Since we’re talking about possible surface contamination (the bite valve) and not wound contamination, I think (1) the risk is low, and (2) any good washing will eliminate any possible risk. And that goes for other diseases that might be lurking in animal slobber. –BUCK

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.

Keywords: