Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Rabies facts
- What is rabies?
- What are rabies symptoms and signs in humans?
- What is the history of rabies, and what is the cause of rabies?
- How is rabies transmitted?
- How soon after an exposure should a person seek medical attention?
- How is a rabies infection diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for rabies in humans?
- Should people get a preexposure vaccination before traveling outside the U.S.?
- Can rabies be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for people with rabies?
- Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system and, unless treated quickly and appropriately, usually results in death.
- Rabies symptoms and signs occur after exposure and may consist of some or many of the following: odd behaviors, delirium, combativeness, loss of muscle function, muscle spasms, drooling, convulsions, pain, and other problems.
- Rabies is caused when the virus, Lyssavirus rabies, enters the human body by the bite from an infected animal, in most cases. The virus progresses through the nerves to the brain and other organs.
- Although the majority of rabies infections worldwide originate from bites from infected dogs, other animals (for example, bats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, wolves) may transmit the disease. Saliva from infected animals and bat guano may also transmit the rabies virus to humans under certain conditions.
- A person exposed to rabies should ideally be treated within 12 hours of the exposure and definitely within 48 hours for the best outcome.
- People exposed to rabies are usually treated with rabies immune globulin and rabies vaccine initially and then get an additional vaccine injection on days three, seven, 14, and occasionally 28 after the first treatment.
- Diagnostic tests for rabies exposure usually involve taking tissue samples (often brain tissue) from the potentially rabies-infected animal exposed to the patient and using immunofluorescence or other immunological techniques to detect the virus in the animal tissue.
- Patients who develop the symptoms of rabies, due to no treatment or incomplete treatment, in almost every instance, will die from the disease.
- Rabies can be prevented or greatly reduced in incidence by government-mandated animal vaccinations, by oral vaccines fed to wild animals, and by avoiding any contact with an animal suspected of having rabies.
Next: What is rabies?
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