Rabies Symptoms – The Importance of Recognizing Rabies Symptoms
Rabies is caused by a virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain in warm-blooded creatures, including humans. This disease can be fatal if proper anti-rabies medication is not administered before the disease manifests itself.
Dogs, monkeys, squirrels and almost any warm-blooded animal transmit rabies.
It is important to recognize and know what to do when rabies symptoms appear.
This disease is a zoonotic disease meaning that it is transmitted from one animal to another by a bite or contact where body fluids can be exchanged. However, people have been known to contract Rabies just by rubbing hands on the fur of an affected animal and transferring the virus from the animal’s coat to their mouth in some manner.
When the rabies virus enters the blood it begins to make its way to the central nervous system from where it travels to the brain, all the time reproducing. This incubation period could take between 40 days to two months. When it reaches the brain it is almost always fatal with death occurring within days.
On suspicion of being bitten by a rabid animal, mostly a dog, anti-rabies vaccination should be administered within 24 hours if possible.
Hydrophobia is perhaps on of the most common rabies symptoms. However, other symptoms may occur individually or all at once. In the beginning there will be a lot of pain in the joints accompanied by high fever and malaise. This is when the disease can be treated. When rabies symptoms include violent, jerky movements, excitement that is uncontrollable, and bouts of depression treatment will have to be in hospital under expert medical care – but even then chances of survival can be difficult.
In the final stages of rabies patients will go through short bouts of mania and a lot of lethargy and finally go into a coma from where they will never return.
Other symptoms of rabies such as mania and hydrophobia are the saddest symptoms of rabies. Hydrophobia is the fear of water, simply put. Though people are of the popular belief that throwing water on suspected rabies infected animal or human is the test for the disease, it is utterly cruel. Water inflicts pain and suffering on rabid patients. There are other ways to test for rabies. Mania is a state of madness and rabid people should be treated with care and caution because if they bite or scratch anyone, the disease could be transmitted.
Frothing at the mouth, erratic movements, fear psychosis and aggressive nature all are the last stages of rabies.
However, instead of waiting for rabies symptoms to appear, if a suspected rabid animal bites anyone they should be rushed to a doctor who will prescribe a blood test. However, since it may take as many as 15 days before the symptoms could appear, anti-rabies vaccines should be administered immediately.
Rabies is perhaps the saddest way anyone could go. Dog bites in urban areas account for 97 percent of all rabies cases.
Losing a dog to rabies is sad, losing a human, when this disease can be avoided and cured is sadder indeed. We have the intelligence to recognize and understand the symptoms of rabies and we should.