It’s fatal in humans, and can come from a simple bite.
Just as most of us will never lose sleep worrying we might come in contact with the Plague, few of us will ever meet up with rabies.
That being said, rabies is a foe, and not a friend. You’ll want to know what to look for before it strikes.
What is it?
Rabies is described as a viral zoonotic disease. It’s so dangerous because it causes acute encephalitis- inflammation of the brain- in animals. If you catch it and you’re non-vaccinated, it’s often fatal.
Thankfully, if you contract rabies or think you may have, a post-exposure vaccination shot exists. This can stop the virus from taking a firm hold in your body, and save your life. And it’s very effective.
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If you do contract rabies, it’s most likely from being bitten by an infected host. Cats, dogs, ferrets, raccoons, skunks, foxes, wolves, coyotes, bears, bats, and horses can all carry rabies.
Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), you won’t be able to tell if an animal has rabies simply by looking at it, but there are some red flag clues.
Most commonly, an animal with rabies will act strangely. It’s slower and more timid. The animal may not react to your presence and run away, but will let you come too close, something a wild animal wouldn’t normally ever do.
This and its opposite-acting more aggressive in an odd way-are both warning signs of infection. Steer clear! If that ferret lunges, dive for cover!
In the U.S and Canada, rabies rates in humans are currently very low. Only 30-40 deaths have been attribute to the illness in each country within the past 100 years, with the greatest source in people coming from bites from wild animals and bats.
Rabies symptoms can take anywhere from 20 to 60 days to appear, depending on where you’ve been bitten and the severity of your bite.
If the symptoms have surfaced, including irritability, aggressiveness, hallucinations, muscle spasms and bizarre thoughts, the person is beyond saving and will likely die.
Get medical help and be vaccinated following any suspicious interaction with animals, and stay safe.
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