Rabies is a viral infection that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans. The disease is almost always fatal to both people and animals. Skunk rabies spreads rapidly and infects large numbers of skunks. The disease often spreads to other wildlife and pets, making human exposure a real concern. Humans and animals are much more likely to come into contact with skunks because they live on the ground.
Because skunks may seek shelter and food where pets and livestock live, there is much more opportunity for the pets or livestock to interact with skunks.