Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that travels through the body to the brain via the central nervous system. It causes encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which results in neurological damage that cannot be treated. Rabies is present in the raccoon, skunk and bat populations in Connecticut. If a person is bitten or comes in contact with one of these animals, he or she should receive a rabies shot as a precaution. Pets should also be treated immediately.