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Rabies
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Rabies

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Viral Illnesses

Rabies is a serious viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals. The disease typically spreads by way of the saliva of infected animals - often, but not always, through a bite.

Once you're infected, the virus spreads from peripheral nerves to your spinal cord and brain. From initial flu-like signs and symptoms, the illness can progress to convulsions, paralysis or breathing failure. Death can occur if you don't seek treatment immediately after exposure.

Your risk of exposure to rabies is greater when you come into contact with a wild animal.  Domesticated animals such as cats, dogs and cattle account for less than 10 percent of reported rabies cases. Most pets and domesticated animals receive vaccinations against rabies.

Your chances of exposure to the rabies virus are much greater than are your chances of dying from it. Treatment consists of a series of rabies shots, which prevent symptoms and death.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of rabies usually appear within 30 to 50 days after exposure. Rabies is nearly always fatal once symptoms appear. Early signs and symptoms of rabies in humans are general and not unique to the disease. They may include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Malaise

As the disease progresses, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Confusion

  • Slight or partial paralysis

  • Excitation

  • Hallucinations

  • Agitation

  • Excessive salivation

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing

A bite's severity and its location on your body determine how quickly signs and symptoms appear. A severe bite to your head might cause problems to appear in a much shorter time than might those of a bite to your leg. In rare cases, signs and symptoms might not appear for a year or longer after exposure to the virus.

The usual cause of death in humans is breathing failure within 2 weeks after the appearance of signs and symptoms.

Rabies > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:02 AM