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What is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly virus that spreads to people through the saliva of infected animals. A dog bite or a scratch exposed to licking by animals causes the virus to enter the nervous system, resulting in brain damage or even death. The virus is mostly transmitted through a bite.

Which animals can transmit the Rabies virus?

The animals which are most likely to transmit the Rabies virus to humans are:

  • Cats
  • Cows
  • Dogs
  • Ferrets
  • Goats
  • Horses
  • Rabbits

The wild animals include:

  • Bats
  • Beavers
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Monkeys
  • Raccoons
  • Woodchucks
What are the signs and symptoms of Rabies?

Initially Rabies does not cause any signs and symptoms, till late in the disease, mostly few days before death. The signs and symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear of water
  • Hallucinations
  • Partial paralysis
Which factors increase the risk of developing Rabies?
  • Living or travelling in a country where Rabies is more common, especially Southeast Asia and Africa
  • Working in a lab or a clinic with the Rabies Virus
  • Exploring caves where bats live or camping without any precautions, or other activities that may put you in contact with wild animals that are likely to have Rabies
  • Severe wounds to the neck or the head, which may help the Rabies virus to travel to the brain at a faster rate
Is Rabies curable?

There is no specific effective treatment for the Rabies infection. Once a person is infected with the Rabies virus, then it is difficult to cure. If medical help is taken within ten days, then it can be effective.

Which consultant should be consulted for Rabies?

As Rabies is caused by a virus, one should consult a Virologist.

Which Preventive measures can reduce the risk of developing Rabies?
  • Vaccination to your pets: All the pet animals- dogs, cats should be vaccinated against Rabies.
  • Keep the pets confined: Pets should be trained and supervised when outside, as this may restrict the pets from coming into contact with any animal having the Rabies infection.
  • Do not approach wild animals: People should stay away from any animal that is not scared, as animals with the Rabies infection may seem unafraid of people.
  • Vaccination: If travelling, all the necessary vaccinations are highly recommended.
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