Rabies: Symptoms, Causes, Vaccine, And Treatment

Rabies is a dangerous virus spread through bites and scratches of infected animals like dogs, raccoons, coyotes, cats, bats, etc. The virus causes brain inflammation. However, treatment on time and vaccination can prevent serious and fatal outcomes. If you aren’t aware of how serious rabies can be, read till the end. 

  • Rabies is a viral disease. It spreads through an animal bite carrying the infection.
  • The virus needs immediate medical action. 
  • The treatment is only successful if it’s administered before the symptoms manifest. 
  • Earliest symptoms are fear of light, water and other neurological problems.

Symptoms Of Rabies:

Symptoms of Rabies manifest in 5 stages:

  1. Incubation: This is before the symptoms start to manifest; this can last one week or even months, depending on the severity and the number of viral particles involved.
  2. Prodrome: Rabies enters the fatal stage when the symptoms start to appear, which is why it’s recommended to seek medical help as soon as one gets bitten. Prodrome is the stage when the infected person experiences fever, flu, headache, sore throat, etc. 
  3. Acute Neurologic Period: The third stage is when the infected person starts experiencing confusion and aggression, involuntary muscle twitching, partial paralysis, convulsions, and rigid neck muscles, among other signs. 
  4. Coma: By this stage, the virus is widespread in the body, and the organs will start shutting down one by one. 
  5. Death: Death after coma occurs within days. Once the 4th stage is reached, death is unavoidable. 
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What Causes Rabies?

The rabies virus causes rabies and mostly spreads through infected animals. The virus is in the saliva of the infected animal. The virus travels from the infected part to the brain through nerves. The virus spreads fast due to the multiplication of the viral components and causes inflammation and damage to the brain. Common carriers of the Rabies virus are bats, dogs, cats, racoons, squirrels, etc. 


When the bite or scratch occurs, clean the wound for 15 minutes with soapy water and treat the injury with iodine or detergent. This minimises the number of particles entering the body through broken skin. The next step is to seek medical assistance. 

The treatment should begin immediately after exposure and before the symptoms manifest. Even if you aren’t sure whether the animal is infected, getting the shots is an important step. 

Cases that fail to seek medical help in time and have started experiencing symptoms almost always turn fatal. 

Rabies Vaccine:

One of the foolproof treatments is the rabies vaccine. This vaccination is only administered when an exposure occurs; it’s not given out routinely. The only people eligible to receive rabies vaccinations are:

  •  Healthcare personnel working with the virus that causes the disease.
  • Veterinarians.
  • People working with animals as a profession. 

Apart from that, anyone is eligible for the vaccination if they have been exposed to the virus due to biting and scratching of any animal that may or may not be infected but is a possible carrier for rabies. 

The vaccine triggers the human body to produce antibodies that help fight the virus and protect against the disease. However, the vaccination is useless once the symptoms start to occur, as it means that the virus has reached and started damaging the brain. 

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Seeking medical attention as soon as the bite occurs is the only way to prevent rabies from being fatal.