What is rabies?

Rabies is a zoonotic disease caused by a virus of the Lyssavirus genus. This viral infection attacks the nervous system, causing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. It’s said that domestic dogs are the most common reservoir of the rabies virus, although many countries, including the United States, have mostly eliminated the virus in domestic dogs. However, rabies can still be found in the wildlife in animals such as foxes, bats, and raccoons.

The disease is transmitted mainly through the saliva by direct exposure such as bites. Rabies can be preventable by vaccines.

Symptoms of rabies include lethargy(low energy), fever, excessive drooling, vomiting, and odd behavior such as aggression, disorientation, and hallucinations. There are two forms of rabies: furious form, also known as the mad dog, where dogs get vicious, and the paralytic form(dumb rabies), a non-vicious form, where paralysis of jaw muscles and throat are presence.

The diagnosis of rabies requires a laboratory test, and there is no particular treatment, just isolation to prevent from injuring others. The incubation period for dogs varies from two weeks to four months.