Rabies Types, Symptoms & Causes

Rabies is a viral illness commonly spread via the saliva of an infected mammals such as dogs cats. This occurs usually through biting a human or another animal. Transmission can also occur through saliva touching an open wound or touching mucous membranes.

Rabies is a life threatening condition that causes tens of thousands of deaths worldwide every year. Dogs are the most common source.

The virus infects the brain and ultimately leads to death. After being bitten by a rabid animal, the virus is deposited in the muscle and subcutaneous tissue. For most of the incubation period (which is usually one to three months), the virus stays close to the exposure site. However, incubation periods can also range from a few days to six years. The virus then travels via peripheral nerves to the brain and from there, again via peripheral nerves, to nearly all parts of the body.

Animals that Can Spread Rabies
Both wild and domesticated animals can spread the rabies virus. The following animals are the main sources of rabies infection in humans

Bats, Beavers, Cats, Cows, Coyotes, Dogs, Ferrets, Foxes, Goats, Horses, Monkeys, Rabbits, Raccoons, Skunks, Woodchucks

How to Prevent Rabies
Rabies is a preventable disease. There are some simple measures you can take to help keep you from catching rabies

Avoid contact with wild animals.
Vaccinate your pets.
Keep your pets from roaming outside.
Get a rabies vaccination before traveling to developing countries, working closely with animals, or working in a lab handling the rabies virus.
Prevent bats from entering living spaces or other structures near your home.
Report stray animals to animal control.

How To Diagnose Rabies?
There is no test to detect the early stages of rabies infection. After the onset of symptoms, a blood or tissue test will help a doctor determine whether you have the disease.

After being exposed to the rabies virus, you can have a series of injections to prevent an infection from setting in. Rabies immunoglobulin, which gives you an immediate dose of rabies antibodies to fight the infection, helps to prevent the virus from getting a foothold. Then, getting the rabies vaccine is the key to avoiding the disease. The rabies vaccine is given in a series.

Try to find the animal that bit you so that it can be tested for rabies. If the animal isn’t rabid, you can avoid the large round of rabies shots. However, if the animal can’t be found, the safest course of action is to take the preventive shots.


The initial onset of rabies begins with flu-like symptoms, including:

muscle weakness
You may also feel burning at the bite site.

As the virus continues to attack the central nervous system, there are two different types of the disease that can develop.

Furious Rabies
Infected people who develop furious rabies will be hyperactive and excitable and may display erratic behavior. Other symptoms may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, excess salivation, problems swallowing, fear of water.

Paralytic Rabies
This form of rabies takes longer to set in, but the effects are just as severe. Infected people slowly become paralyzed, will eventually slip into a coma, and die.


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