Can You Get Rabies From Running Over Roadkill

As a runner, I’ve often come across roadkill during my early morning jogs. The sight of a dead animal on the road always makes me wonder about the potential health risks associated with it. One common concern that many runners, including myself, have is whether there is a risk of getting rabies from coming into contact with roadkill.

Understanding Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans. It is commonly transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite. Once symptoms of rabies appear, the disease is almost always fatal. This makes it a serious concern for anyone who may have been exposed to a potentially rabid animal.

Risk of Rabies from Roadkill

When it comes to roadkill, the risk of contracting rabies is generally low. Rabies is most commonly spread through the bite of an infected animal, and the virus is typically present in the saliva of an infected animal. Since roadkill is often the result of a collision with a vehicle, the animal may have died from the impact rather than from rabies. Additionally, the virus does not survive for long periods outside the host’s body, especially when exposed to environmental elements.

Precautions to Take

While the risk of getting rabies from roadkill is low, it’s essential to take precautions if you come across it during your run. Avoid touching the roadkill, and if you accidentally come into contact with it, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible. It’s also crucial to report the presence of roadkill to the local authorities or animal control, as they can properly dispose of the carcass and assess the risk of rabies or other diseases in the area.

Protection for Runners

As a runner, it’s important to stay informed about the potential risks you may encounter while out on the road. Understanding the basics of diseases like rabies and taking precautions when necessary can help ensure that you can continue to pursue your passion for running safely.


While the thought of coming into contact with roadkill may be unsettling, the risk of getting rabies from it is generally low. By staying informed and taking simple precautions, runners can continue to enjoy their runs without undue concern about this particular health risk.