Rabies Virus

Class: Monoegavirales; Rhabdoviridae

Nucleic acids/ Proteins

~non-segmented, negative-stranded RNA genome, enveloped

~envelope capsids: help virus avoid immune system, fuses with the host membrane allowing the capsid and genome to enter and infect the host

~Ribonucleoprotein, is a nucleoprotein that contains RNA, i.e. it is an association that combines ribonucleic acid and protein together (referred also as protein-RNA complexes).


~Diseases associated with this family include rabies fatal encephalitis from rabies virus, and vesicular diseases and encephalitis flu-like symptoms in humans from vesiculovirus

Host and Mode of infection

Rabies can affect all mammals, it is spread through a bite or getting saliva in an open wound from an infected organism. Once the virus is in the new host, the virus travels through the nerves to the brain while reproducing (viral RNA uncoats in the cytoplasm of infected cells. The genome is transcribed by a virion-associated RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Viral RNA is then translated into individual viral proteins. Replication occurs with synthesis of positive-stranded RNA templates for the production of progeny negative-stranded RNA). It targets the salivary glands, causes inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, and can ultimately change the structure or function of the brain.


The first symptoms that appear are similar to those of the flu (headache, discomfort, weakness), after cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, agitation begins, then delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia. The virus has now affected the central nervous system and is causing inflammation of the brain and can change the structure of the brain.

Once symptoms appear it's too late for doctors to do anything, less than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported. Once someone is bitten or comes into contact with saliva of an affected organism, it's highly recommended to seek medical treatment immediately. Vaccines are also available.