Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rabies Facts

Rabies is almost always fatal to an individual who is not vaccinated for rabies if neurological symptoms have developed as a result of an animal bite.

Rabies comes from a Latin word meaning madness, rage or fury. This is why you see a person afflicted with rabies become irate, mad or in rage like a wild animal so to speak. Rabies is a viral zoonotic disease that causes inflammation of the brain.

Any mammal may become infected with rabies including humans. Dogs and cats provide the greatest risk to humans. These mammals are domesticated and are living among us in our homes. Aside from these two, bats, raccoons, foxes and skunks also pose great risks of infecting humans with rabies.

Rabies is usually present in the blood, nerves and saliva of an infected animal. The common way by which a rabies virus is transmitted is through a bite. Others, however, can be transmitted through mucous membranes.

Among humans, rabies can also be transmitted by one to the other. However, this is rare. Transplant surgery is one of the ways of transmitting rabies from one person to another. Other ways are by bites or kisses.

At present there is no known cure for an individual who is symptomatic of rabies. Right now, prevention is still the best cure.

Rabies was once rare in the United States, but in recent years, there has been a rabies epidemic due to animal transport from the north east to the south east.

Caution is the order of the day when it comes to avoiding rabies infection. Keep away from wild and stray animals and have yourself vaccinated.