Rabies – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Rabies is an acute viral infection. Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking, and may appear to want to be left alone. Because it can be fatal, rabies should be considered extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is important to prevent exposure to the rabies virus whenever possible. In Europe the virus is mainly carried by the fox. Each year a few people die of rabies in the United States. Most deaths occur because the person didn’t seek medical assistance. People are most often infected by the bite of a dog, bat or monkey. Rabies primarily attacks the nervous system and causes an encephalitis. The first symptoms of rabies are usually non-specific and suggest involvement of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and/or central nervous systems. In the acute stage, signs of hyperactivity (furious rabies) or paralysis (dumb rabies) predominate. Rabies may also spread through exposure to infected domestic farm animals, groundhogs, weasels and other wild carnivores. The rabies virus, present in the saliva of an infected animal, is usually spread by a bite or scratch that punctures the victim’s skin. If antibody or immunogenic vaccine is administered promptly, the virus can be prevented from invading the central nervous system.

The rabies virus travels through the nervous system, eventually inflaming the brain. Most rabies viruses belong to genus Lyssavirus and the family Rhabdoviridae. There are an estimated 55,000 deaths from rabies worldwide each year. Most deaths occur in children. After a bite, the rabies virus can spread into the person’s surrounding muscle, then travel up a nearby nerve to the brain. Once the virus infects the brain, it can cause severe, possibly permanent injury. Animals who are not mammals, such as birds, fish, turtles, and snakes, cannot carry rabies. Cattle, horses, deer and other herbivores can become infected with rabies and although they could potentially transmit the virus to other animals and to people, this rarely occurs. Treatment of an infected person as critical. Untreated, rabies causes a painful death.

Causes of Rabies

The common causes and risk factor’s of Rabies include the following:

Rabies virus.

Bite of a rabid animal.


Saliva or brain tissue of an infected animal

Laboratory workers.

Dogs, bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and other wild animals.

Animal caretakers or handlers.

Symptoms of Rabies

Some sign and symptoms related to Rabies are as follows:




Excessive movements or agitation.

Cardiac arrest.

Weakness or paralysis (when a person cannot move some part of the body).

Difficulty speaking.

Extreme sensitivity to bright lights, sounds, or touch.

Difficulty swallowing.

Increased lacrimation.


Itching or pain at the site of the bite.

Treatment of Rabies

Here is list of the methods for treating Rabies:

A series of vaccinations after exposure can prevent the disease.

Clean the wound well with soap and water, and seek professional medical help.

Immune globulins are disease-fighting proteins that provide you with temporary antibodies.

If the animal has the potential for rabies and is unavailable for sacrifice and examination, then you will be given rabies shots in the emergency department.

Injection of the vaccine will begin during this initial visit to the emergency department and will proceed on a schedule over the next 28 days, with a total of 5 small injections.