Rabies is a viral infection that can be transmitted between animals and from animals to people. The viral infection disrupts the nervous system, causing dysfunction within the system, including delirium and irrational behavior. While rabies in animals is terminal, humans can be treated post-exposure to the virus, if they seek medical treatment. If an exposed indiviual does not seek medical treatment, the virus can be fatal.

How Is Rabies Contracted?

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted in the saliva of the infected individual. When an infected animal bites another animal or a human, the virus is transmitted from the saliva into the bite, infecting the individual bitten.

Can Rabies Be Spread Other Ways?

A person does not have to be bitten by an infected animal to contract the virus. If a person comes in contact with infected saliva, they can contract the virus, particularly if the saliva enters the system through ingestion of the saliva or saliva entering an open wound.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of rabies begin as flu-like symptoms with a person, then as the virus progresses into the neurological system, the person will begin to exhibit abnormal behavior, including delirium, hallucinations, anxiety and general confusion. Symptoms in animals are characterized by foaming at the mouth.

How Long Does It Take for Symptoms To Show?

Generally, rabies will appear in an infected person 10 to 60 days after infection, though some people will experience symptoms sooner or later than that. According to the Immunization Action Coalition, some individuals have had a dormant virus that did not present symptoms until a year later.

What Happens When Symptoms Show?

The Immunization Action Coalition addresses the need for medical treatment, stating that once symptoms present in animal or person, it is fatal. There is no cure for rabies for animals. If a person has been exposed, it is imperative that they seek medical attention immediately for exposure treatment. For animals, the only solution is euthanasia.

Rabies Treatment And Vaccine

There is treatment for humans for rabies exposure, and there is a vaccine available currently. Treatment for rabies consists of a dose of immune globulin with the antibodies for the rabies virus within it and then five doses of the rabies vaccine over a 28 day period. If you are an individual who works outdoors or with wild animals, getting vaccinated is a good idea.