Rabies Symptoms, Diagnostic and Prevention

Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. The rabies virus travels to the brain by following the peripheral nerves. The incubation period of the disease is usually a few months in humans, depending on the distance the virus must travel to reach the central nervous system. Once the rabies virus reaches the central nervous system and symptoms begin to show, the infection is virtually untreatable and usually fatal within days.

Rabies Symptoms

Rabies symptoms and signs occur after exposure and may consist of some or many of the following: odd behaviors, delirium, combativeness, loss of muscle function, muscle spasms, drooling, convulsions, pain, and other problems.

Although the majority of rabies infections worldwide originate from bites from infected dogs, other animals (for example, bats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, wolves) may transmit the disease. Saliva from infected animals and bat guano may also transmit the rabies virus to humans under certain conditions.

Rabies Prevention

Prevention of rabies depends on decreasing the disease in the animal kingdom. Avoid contact with wild animals and strays. Have your pets (including cats, dogs, and ferrets) vaccinated against rabies. Keep pets under control and away from wild animals and strays. Call animal-control services to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.

Rabies Diagnostic

Diagnostic tests for rabies exposure usually involve taking tissue samples (often brain tissue) from the potentially rabies-infected animal exposed to the patient and using immunofluorescence or other immunological techniques to detect the virus in the animal tissue.

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