Rabies in Humans

Rabies is an acute viral infection is transmitted to humans by a bite or by the exposure of broken skin to an infected animal’s saliva. Immunization given early (preferably within 24 hours but certainly within 72 hours) can usually prevent the disease.

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The brain functions to receive nerve impulses from the spinal cord and cranial nerves. The spinal cord contains the nerves that carry messages between the brain and the body. The rabies virus spreads through the nerves, first causing flu-like symptoms such as fever and malaise. As the disease advances to the brain, it causes anxiety, confusion, hydrophobia, brain dysfunction, progressing to hallucinations, delirium, and insomnia. If left untreated, rabies is nearly always fatal.

Patient 1 with Oral Hydrophobia