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Rabies is a deadly animal disease caused by a virus. It can happen in wild animals, including raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes, or in dogs, cats or farm animals. People get it from the bite of an infected animal.

In people, symptoms of rabies include fever, headache and fatigue, then confusion, hallucinations and paralysis. Once the symptoms begin, the disease is usually fatal. A series of shots can prevent rabies in people exposed to the virus. You need to get them right away. If an animal bites you, wash the wound well; then get medical care.

To help prevent rabies

  • Vaccinate your pet. Rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats and farm animals
  • Don't let pets roam
  • Don't approach stray animals. Animals with rabies might be aggressive and vicious, or tired and weak

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Rabies

The following features are indicative of Rabies:
  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • hyperactivity
  • difficulty swallowing
  • excessive salivation
  • hallucinations
  • insomnia
  • partial paralysis
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Common Causes of Rabies

The following are the most common causes of Rabies:
  • rabies virus
  • animals bite

Risk Factors for Rabies

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Rabies:
  • traveling or living in a country where rabies is more common
  • activities that are likely to put you in contact with wild animals
  • working in a laboratory with the rabies virus

Prevention of Rabies

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Rabies. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid contact with animals
  • consider the rabies vaccine
  • protect small pets from predators

Occurrence of Rabies

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Rabies cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Rabies can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Rabies can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Rabies

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Rabies:
  • Histologic examination: To diagnose the unsuspected cases of rabies
  • Saliva test: To test the presence of rabies virus
  • Skin biopsies: To examine the rabies antigen in the cutaneous nerves at the base of hair follicles

Doctor for Diagnosis of Rabies

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Rabies:
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Rabies if untreated

Yes, Rabies causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Rabies is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Self-care for Rabies

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Rabies:
  • Vaccinate your pets: Gives protection from rabies virus
  • Don't approach wild animals: To protect yourself from the wild animal biting
  • Consider the rabies vaccine if you're traveling: Reduces the chance of getting rabies virus

Time for Treatment of Rabies

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Rabies to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Is Rabies Infectious?

Yes, Rabies is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • saliva of infected animals
  • animal bite

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Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Rabies.

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