Rabies Virus (cont.)
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
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.
In this Article
- Rabies facts
- What is rabies?
- What causes rabies?
- What are risk factors for rabies?
- What are rabies symptoms and signs?
- How do physicians diagnose rabies?
- What is the treatment for rabies?
- What is the prognosis of rabies?
- Is it possible to prevent rabies? Is there a rabies vaccine?
What are rabies symptoms and signs?
Symptoms can occur as fast as within the first week of the infection.
The early symptoms of rabies are very generalized and include weakness, fever, and headaches. Without a history of a potential exposure to a rabid animal, these symptoms would not raise the suspicion of rabies as they are very similar to the common flu or other viral syndromes.
The disease can then take two forms:
- With paralytic rabies (approximately 20% of cases), the patient's muscles slowly get paralyzed (usually starting at the site of the bite), is the less common form and ends in coma and death.
- With furious rabies (about 80% of cases), the patient exhibits the classic symptoms of rabies, such as
- anxiety and confusion (The patient is often overly active.);
- encephalitis, causing hallucinations, confusion, and coma;
- hydrophobia (fear and avoidance of water);
- difficulty swallowing.
Once the clinical signs of rabies occur, the disease is nearly always fatal.
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