A vaccine preventable disease

What is Rabies and how do we identify it?

Rabies is a well known virus generally contracted through an infected animal bite, it is transmitted through brain/ nervous system tissue and can only be contracted by making contact with these specific excretions or tissues.

History of Rabies

Rabies roughly translates to "madness" or "to do violence" which is fitting given the symptoms of the disease.

Rabies has been known about since 2000 B.C. and first written about in the Mesopotamian codex of Eshnunna.
The disease appears to have originated in the old world with the first case in this time period occurring in Boston in 1768 where it continued to spread eventually becoming common throughout North America.

The number of rabies related deaths in the united states has declined from more than 100 annually at the turn of the century to one or two per year in 1990s.
The modern day prophylaxis is nearly 100% effective. However if left un-diagnosed for long enough it will become fatal.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of the disease include:

-General flu like symptoms

-Itching or prickling at site of the bite

-Cerebral dysfunction


- Agitation

The symptoms then escalate to:


-Abnormal behavior

- Hallucinations



-even foaming of the mouth.

Once clinical signs begin to show the disease is almost always fatal.


Transmission of Rabies

Rabies can be contracted by all species of mammals, however in the United States the most common reservoirs are raccoon's, skunks, foxes, bats, and coyotes.

Transmission occurs when infected saliva is introduced to an uninfected animal. The most common method of transmission is when an infected animal bites another uninfected animal and the saliva is passed on.

Although rare it has been contracted via, contamination of mucous membranes, aerosol transmission, and eye and organ transplants.

Complications of Rabies

Rabies is a virus that can be treated with near 100% effectiveness when caught before symptoms begin to show.

What makes the rabies virus so difficult is the fact that once you begin to exhibit symptoms it is too late and almost always results in fatality for the infected subject. To be treated effectively the infected subject must be tested by a medical professional as soon as possible after being bitten or licked by a host they believe is carrying the virus.

The hardest thing about the rabies virus is that while it is easily curable it is up to the individual to get themselves tested before symptoms begin to show and its too late.

Recommended Control Measures for Rabies

Because Rabies is a virus that is so prevalent and regularly spread in the wild there is very little we can do to contain the virus. However we can limit the danger of infection by always making sure domesticated animals are up to date on their rabies shots protecting them from contracting the virus if infected, in turn preventing them from unknowingly passing it on to us. However once infected and you know you may have been infected it is nearly 100% curable after being treated with the proper vaccination "BEFORE DEVELOPING SYMPTOMS" after exhibiting symptoms the virus is almost always fatal.
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