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What Are the Symptoms and
Causes of Rabies?


Rabies patient

Rabies is an infectious disease which destroys the nerve cells of part of the brain and causes death. Humans and all warm-blooded animals can get rabies. Because one of the symptoms is inability to swallow water, the disease is also called hydrophobia (“fear of water”). The disease is transmitted by a bite or by getting some of the saliva in a wound. Some animals contract rabies form breathing the air in caves where millions of bats are sleeping during the day. Dogs and wild animals are the most common sources of rabies for humans. When the virus enters the body, it travels along the nerves to the spine and brain, producing inflammation. Once symptoms appear, death is inevitable.

Symptoms begin appearing within 1-4 months after the bite, but sometimes longer. They include numbness, soreness, and tingling where the bite occurred. These sensations spread. And it becomes difficult to swallow, breath, and talk. Then more extensive muscle spasms begin; and the victim gradually becomes maniacal. The final stages are depression and exhaustion. Sometimes there is paralysis, coma, and death. If the symptoms of rabies have already begun to appear, the person will probably die.

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