Rabies is a zoonotic infection caused by the rabies virus of the Rhabdovirus group. The virus is transmitted from an infected animal to a human being through a bite or scratch. Domestic dogs are more likely to spread the virus to human beings than any other animal. The rabies virus has four stages: the incubation stage, the prodrome stage, the acute neurological stage, and the late stage.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the United States, ten out of every one thousand deaths is a result of rabies 1. Rabies can be fatal if not treated immediately after the injury, before any symptoms show. It can have a mortality rate up to 100 percent if left untreated. Death may occur anytime, even weeks or years after the initial infection. Rabies is also contagious 2. The good news is that rabies can be cured through vaccination. Vaccinating domestic pets can also prevent rabies by minimizing the risk of transmission and infection.
Rabies Symptom #1: Skin Inflammation
The only symptom during the incubation stage of the rabies virus is the wound on the skin from the animal bite or scratch. There must be broken skin for the infected saliva to pass through in order to cause infection. The incubation period for the rabies virus is typically twenty to fifty days. However, rabies symptoms may start to appear five to six days after the animal bite.
The location of the bite determines how fast the virus will take to reach the brain. The nearer the bite is to the brain, the earlier symptoms start to appear. Get a vaccination immediately after the animal bites you even if you don’t suspect the animal to have the virus. An early vaccination can inhibit the virus from advancing.