The rabies virus assaults the host's central nervous system, causing a variety of severe symptoms such as anxiety and bewilderment, partial paralysis, agitation, hallucinations, and, in its last stages, a condition known as "hydrophobia," or a dread of water. If not treated, rabies can lead to death.
Humans become infected with the rabies virus when they are bitten by an infected animal. The virus enters our body through the bite site and travels via the bloodstream to the brain, where it begins to replicate itself. Most people who are infected with the virus will not know they have it because they do not experience any symptoms at all. However, some individuals do develop symptoms before they are diagnosed with rabies; these symptoms include:
* Anxiety * Bewilderment * Headaches * Memory loss
If you are suspected of having been exposed to rabies, immediately contact your doctor or emergency room staff so that appropriate precautions can be taken. They will want to know if you have experienced any of the above symptoms and if you have been bitten by a wild animal. Your health care provider may then recommend that you receive a series of vaccinations over a period of time. These vaccines contain parts of the virus that cause the disease in humans. The vaccine will not cause the infection itself but will produce antibodies that fight off any future infections.
As rabies advances and causes inflammation of the brain and meninges, symptoms such as mild or partial paralysis, anxiety, sleeplessness, disorientation, agitation, strange behavior, paranoia, dread, and hallucinations may occur. The individual may also be afraid of water. Eventually, the symptoms escalate to delirium and coma. Unless the patient receives adequate treatment, including immunoglobulin and vaccine, he will die.
The virus can enter the body through a bite from an infected animal, contact with infected saliva, or through the digestive tract. Once in the body, the virus multiplies using the cells of the immune system as its host. Rabies infection cannot be cured but treatments can help reduce the severity of the disease. Immunoglobulins are antibodies obtained by injecting healthy donors with serum taken from the blood of infected patients. They can treat people who have been exposed to the virus but not yet developed symptoms. Vaccines contain the material that stimulates the immune system to produce these antibodies. People at highest risk for developing severe symptoms should consider vaccination before exposure to the virus.
In conclusion, rabies is a fatal disease. If you find yourself in need of a hospital after being bitten by an animal, then seek immediate medical assistance. Also, remember that animals that appear to be dead may actually be unconscious or only sleeping so be careful not to wake them up!
Throughout its history, rabies has sometimes been referred to as "hydrophobia" ("fear of water"). It refers to a group of symptoms that occur in the final stages of an illness in which the individual has trouble swallowing, panics when confronted with liquids to drink, and is unable to satiate their thirst.
Yes, people who are infected with rabies display all kinds of strange behaviors. One common problem is an infection-induced desire to drink salty or sour things. People also tend to eat unusual things when they are sick with rabies. For example, an animal victim of rabies may seem hungry one minute and then go back to eating dirt the next. Finally, people with rabies can be very irritable and angry often towards those closest to them.
All these problems together are what make up the diagnosis of "hydrophobia".
When someone is infected with rabies, they first feel feverish and generally unwell. As the disease progresses, they will begin to experience anxiety and panic attacks related to the fact that they cannot swallow. This would be accompanied by a fear of drinking even water.
In addition, the virus may cause the patient to have violent mood swings or become aggressive. These problems are called "psychomotor disturbances". Finally, people with rabies may show a tendency to bite others.
Rabies was once referred to as hydrophobia because it appears to produce a fear of water. Attempting to swallow causes intense spasms in the throat. Even the mere notion of drinking water might provoke spasms. This is where the terror arises. People with rabies may not appear sick but they are actually suffering from extreme pain. The virus invades the brain and attacks the nerve cells. This infection cannot be cured through medicine; instead, it must be treated with artificial neurons grown from skin cells. These cells connect with other nerves inside the body to form new, healthy ones.
In fact, people with rabies behave aggressively and unpredictably before they die. They may bite others without knowing it, causing them to contract the disease too.
The fear of water is one of the first symptoms people experience when infected with rabies. Other symptoms include aggression, anxiety, confusion, difficulty walking, hallucinations, insomnia, loss of appetite, paralysis, seizures, and sometimes death.
People who are exposed to the virus but do not develop signs of infection should receive post-exposure treatment immediately to prevent further damage to the brain. Treatment includes vaccination against the virus and medication to relieve fever and pain.
Rabies symptoms include fever, seizures, pica, paralysis, hydrophobia (an extreme or irrational fear of water), jaw appears dropped, lack of muscular coordination, changes in behavior such as unusual shyness or aggression, excessive excitability, constant irritability/changes, and mandibular paralysis...
Other signs that may indicate a dog is infected with rabies include observing the animal bite someone else or itself while behaving abnormally, acting aggressively toward people, animals, or anything else for no apparent reason, and failing to respond to social cues from others.
If you are unable to obtain information about an animal's vaccination history, it is important to take precautions to prevent being bitten by this animal. Prevention includes not allowing dogs that have never been vaccinated before to be released into the community, requiring owners to vaccinate their pets, and using protective clothing when working with wildlife.
People often report seeing birds, rodents, or other animals that have been injured or appear distressed near homes with rabies-infected dogs, suggesting that these animals are susceptible to attack even if the dogs themselves seem unharmed. However many animals that fall victim to rabid dogs do not die immediately; rather, they go through the same symptoms as those described for humans. If you are able to locate and treat an animal that has been attacked by a dog with signs of rabies, there is a chance you can save its life.