Rabies

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Overview

Rabies is a viral infection, spread via the saliva of infected animals. It is extremely deadly, as once a person contracts the infection, it is almost always fatal. It can be spread via a number of different animals, including, skunks, bats, coyotes, and dogs.

Causes

When a Rhabdovirus infects an animal, and the infected animal bites a healthy human, the virus is transmitted to the human via the saliva of the infected animal through the bite site. Even though the virus is mostly known to be transmitted by stray dogs, it could also be spread by the following animals:

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

Symptoms

The following signs and symptoms are seen in patients with rabies:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis

Within the next 10-14 days, the patient dies.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made on the basis of signs and symptoms, as there is no specific test to diagnose rabies.

Treatment

There is no treatment for rabies once the symptoms have begun to manifest, and it’s just a matter of time before it proves fatal. However, if a patient suspects being bit by a stray rabid animal, they must immediately get the vaccine against the rabies virus to protect themselves from getting the infection.

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