Rabies is a deadly viral infection that is mainly spread by infected animals.
Hydrophobia; Animal bite - rabies; Dog bite - rabies; Bat bite - rabies; Raccoon bites - rabies
The infection is caused by rabies virus. Rabies is spread by infected saliva that enters the body through a bite or broken skin. The virus travels from the wound to the brain, where it causes swelling or inflammation. This inflammation leads to symptoms of the disease. Most rabies deaths occur in children.
In the past, human rabies cases in the United States usually resulted from a dog bite. Recently, more cases of human rabies have been linked to bats and raccoons. Dog bites are a common cause of rabies in developing countries, especially Asia and Africa. There have been no reports of rabies caused by dog bites in the United States for a number of years due to widespread animal vaccination.
Other wild animals that can spread the rabies virus include:
In rare cases, rabies has been transmitted without an actual bite. This type of infection is believed to be caused by infected saliva that has gotten into the air, usually in bat caves.
The time between infection and when you get sick ranges from 10 days to 7 years. This time period is called the incubation period. The average incubation period is 3 to 12 weeks.
Fear of water (hydrophobia) is the most common symptom. Other symptoms may include:
The aim of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms of the bite wound and assess risk of rabies infection. Clean the wound well with soap and water and seek professional medical help. You will need a provider to clean the wound and remove any foreign objects. Most of the time, stitches should not be used for animal bite wounds.
If there is any risk of rabies, you will be given a series of a preventive vaccine. The vaccine is generally given in 5 doses over 28 days. Antibiotics have no effect on the rabies virus.
Most people also receive a treatment called human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG). This treatment is given the day the bite occurred.
Call your provider right away after an animal bite or after being exposed to animals such as bats, foxes, and skunks. They may carry rabies.
There is no known treatment for people with symptoms of a rabies infection, but there have been a few reports of people surviving with experimental treatments.
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Anthony Fooks is in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Fooks is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Rabies. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Rabies, Arbovirosis, Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus Infection.
It is possible to prevent rabies if you get the vaccine soon after the bite. To date, no one in the United States has developed rabies when they were given the vaccine promptly and appropriately.
Once the symptoms appear, the person rarely survives the disease, even with treatment. Death from respiratory failure usually occurs within 7 days after symptoms start.
Rabies is a life-threatening infection. Left untreated, rabies can lead to coma and death.
In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to the rabies vaccine.
Go to the emergency room or call 911 or the local emergency number if an animal bites you.
To help prevent rabies:
Published Date : October 25, 2020
Published By : Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Bullard-Berent J. Rabies. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 123.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Rabies. www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html. Updated September 25, 2020. Accessed December 2, 2020.
Williams B, Rupprecht CE, Bleck TP. Rabies (rhabdoviruses). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 163.