Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Warning Signs Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause Transmission

Animal Bite Rabies Overview

Another name for Animal Bite Rabies is Rabies.

What is rabies?
A person with rabies has a viral infection of the brain and spinal cord, caused by a bite from an infected animal. Rodents, such as squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, rabbits, and hares, do not carry rabies. Animals that can carry rabies include bats, cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and woodchucks. There are only 3 cases of rabies each year in the US.

What are the symptoms of rabies?
Initial symptoms of rabies include pain and tingling around the bite, fever, headache, sore throat, nausea, cough, anxiety, and irritability. Symptoms of worsening rabies may include excessive salivation, drooling, painful muscle spasms, fear of water, or increased sensitivity to bright light, sound and touch. Symptoms of severe rabies include arm weakness, leg weakness, facial weakness, difficulty speaking, confusion, coma, and seizures.

How does the doctor treat rabies?
The treatment of rabies focuses on prevention. After exposure to an animal with rabies, a person must receive rabies shots. There is no cure for rabies if prevention is not effective. Treatment for rabies may include intravenous fluids, antiviral medications, muscle relaxants, oxygen therapy, and ventilator therapy to support breathing.

Continue to Animal Bite Rabies Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Animal Bite Rabies References
  1. Baevsky RH, Bartfield JM. Human rabies: a review. Am J Emerg Med. 1993 May;11(3):279-86. [8489675]
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human rabies--Florida, 2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Aug 12;54(31):767-8. [16094285]
  3. McKay N, Wallis L. Rabies: a review of UK management. Emerg Med J. 2005 May;22(5):316-21. [15843695]
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