Rabies is a viral infection that is spread mainly through animal bites. It attacks the nervous system and is almost always fatal; recovery is rare.
Last Updated: February 21, 2024

It is caused by the rabies virus, which is spread almost always through infected saliva. This occurs most commonly through animal bites, but may also happen through scratches, abrasions and other similar circumstances that involve exposure to infected saliva (e.g. direct contact of eyes and the linings of the mouth and nose to infected saliva).

• Initial symptoms are similar to the flu, such as fever, headache, and general weakness. • There can also be discomfort, pain, numbness, itchiness, or a prickling sensation at the bite site. • As the disease progresses, patients may experience mental confusion, delirium, hallucinations, excessive salivation, and muscle weakness or paralysis. • Two prominent symptoms after the initial illness include hydrophobia or the fear of water, and aerophobia or the fear of air. These happen when, after coming into contact with water (e.g. when drinking) or a draft of air, the patient's muscles contract involuntarily and painfully.

• Wash the bite mark or wound immediately with soap and running water for at least 10 minutes. • Consult a doctor immediately or go to the nearest Animal Bite Treatment Center even while observing the animal that bit you. • If prescribed by a doctor, get the anti-rabies vaccine and complete the number of required doses. • Observe the involved animal (for example, a dog) for 14 days, and consult your physician if any of the following occurs: − The dog becomes wild and runs aimlessly. − The dog drools uncontrollably. − The dog attacks any moving or non-moving object. − The dog does not eat or drink. − The dog dies within the observation period. • If the concerned animal cannot be observed (e.g. stray dog), and you do not know if the animal has rabies or not, it is still best to consult a physician or the nearest Animal Bite Treatment Center immediately.

Since most scenarios of rabies involve pets, you should be a responsible pet owner. • Have your pet immunized by a veterinarian regularly or as prescribed. • Never allow your pet to roam the streets, as it may come into contact or get into a fight with an infected animal and become infected itself. • Take care of your pet: bathe it; feed it; and provide clean sleeping quarters for it. As an individual: • Get yourself pre-exposure anti-rabies vaccine if you have a high-risk occupation (e.g. pet shop owner, dog pound handler). • Know how to avoid or protect yourself from animal bites (e.g. wearing protective equipment).
Last Updated: February 21, 2024