Rabies Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment


When the deadly rabies virus comes in contact with human saliva, it may cause infection. Generally, a bite is how the rabies virus is communicated.

The animals most likely to spread rabies are bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. In developing countries, stray dogs are more prone to infect people with rabies.

Once rabies symptoms start to manifest, death is almost always the outcome of the illness. Anybody who may be in danger of contracting the disease should have rabies vaccinations for protection.


The rabies virus causes rabies infection. The virus spreads through the saliva of affected animals. By biting another animal or a person, infected animals can transmit the virus.

When contaminated saliva contacts an open wound or mucous membranes, such as the mouth or eyes, rabies can, in rare instances, be transmitted. If an infected animal licked an open wound on your skin, this may occur.

Animals capable of spreading the rabies virus

The rabies virus may be transferred by any mammal, or animal that breastfeeds its young. The following animals are most likely to expose people to the rabies virus:

  • Farm animals and pets
  • Cats
  • Cows
  • Dogs
  • Ferrets
  • Goats
  • Horses 
  • Wild creatures
  • Bats
  • Beavers
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Monkeys
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Woodchucks

Very rarely, the recipients of tissue and organ transplants have contracted the virus from an infected organ.

How to check if you have Rabies?

If you are bitten by an animal or are exposed to one that may have rabies, get medical help right once. You and your doctor can determine if you need to get rabies therapy based on your injuries and the circumstances surrounding the exposure.

Even if you are not sure whether you have been bitten, get medical assistance. A bat that enters your room while you are sleeping, for example, might bite you without waking you up. If you see a bat close to someone who is unable to disclose being bitten, such as a young child or someone who is disabled, you should presume they have been bitten.

Risk Factors

You may be more susceptible to contracting rabies if you have:

  •  To undertake traveling to or residing in areas where rabies is more prevalent
  • Activities include camping without taking steps to keep wild animals away from your campsite or exploring caverns where bats reside that are likely to put you in touch with wild animals that may have rabies
  • Practicing veterinary medicine
  • Working in a lab with the rabies virus
  • Injuries to the head or neck that might facilitate faster rabies virus transmission to the brain


The early symptoms of rabies can be fairly similar to the flu and last for days.

Subsequent indications and symptoms may consist of:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Having trouble swallowing
  • Excessive slobbering
  • Anxiety brought on by struggles swallowing water during tries to consume fluids
  • Terror brought on by being blasted with air
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Limited paralysis


To lessen your chance of interacting with rabid animals:

Immunize your animals. It is possible to vaccinate against rabies cats, dogs, and ferrets. Ask your vet how frequently your dogs should receive vaccinations.

Pets should be kept indoors. Keep your pets indoors, and keep an eye on them if you let them out. By doing this, you may prevent your pets from encountering wild creatures.

Save little animals from predators. To keep them safe from wild creatures, keep guinea pigs and other tiny pets inside or in secure cages. These little animals cannot receive a rabies vaccination.

Inform your local authorities about stray animals. Contact the animal control agency in your neighborhood or other local law enforcement to report stray dogs and cats.

Stay away from wild animals. It is possible that rabies does not scare people. Avoid any animal that looks unafraid since it is unusual for a wild animal to be friendly with humans.

Exclude bats from your house. Fill up any openings or crevices where bats may enter your house. Consult a local expert to come up with ideas to keep bats out of your home if you know there are bats there.

If you frequently are amongst animals that may have rabies, you should think about getting vaccinated. Consult your doctor about getting the rabies vaccine if you are going to be spending a lot of time in a country where rabies is prevalent. This entails going to isolated locations where finding medical treatment is challenging.

Get the rabies vaccine if you work with the rabies virus in a lab or as a veterinarian.


There is no cure for rabies once the infection has taken hold. Although a few people have managed to survive rabies, the illness typically results in death. Because of this, you must receive a series of vaccinations if you believe you have been exposed to rabies to stop the disease from spreading.

Treatment for people who have been bitten by rabid animals

You will get a series of injections if you have been bitten by an animal known to have rabies in order to stop the rabies virus from infecting you. It may be best to presume that the animal that bit you has rabies if the animal that bit you cannot be located. Nevertheless, this will depend on several variables, including the species of the animal and the circumstances surrounding the bite.

Rabies vaccinations include:

  • Rabies immune globulin, a vaccine that fights the virus quickly. If you have not received the rabies vaccination, you will receive this. This injection is given as soon as is practical after the bite and as close to the biting site as is practical.
  • A series of rabies shots will teach your body how to recognise and combat the rabies virus. Your arm is given an injection with the rabies vaccination. If you have never gotten the rabies vaccination, you will get four shots spread out over 14 days. You will receive two shots throughout the first three days if you have had the rabies vaccination.

Before starting the course of rabies injections, check if you have rabies. You will not require the vaccinations if it turns out the animal is healthy.

There are several ways to determine whether an animal has rabies. For illustration:

Farm and domestic animals. During ten days, you may watch cats, dogs, and ferrets that bite to determine whether they exhibit rabies symptoms. You will not require rabies vaccines if the animal that bit you stays healthy during the observation period, proving that it is not rabid.

Case-by-case considerations are given to other pets and agricultural animals. To find out if you need rabies injections, see your doctor and the local department.

A bat that entered your house can be killed and tested for rabies if it is discovered and trapped. Examining the animal's brain for the rabies virus may be possible. You will not require the injections if the animal is rabies-free.


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Page last reviewed: Apr 7, 2023

Next review due: Apr 7, 2025

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