Rabies (cont.)

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What are rabies symptoms and signs in humans?

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After the first exposure (in most people, an animal bite), the symptoms of itching or discomfort like pins or needles pricking the skin occur at the bite area. In addition, the person may develop fever and a headache. Investigators suggest these symptoms may last from about two days to weeks. This is the acute phase or the acute incubation phase of the disease. Unfortunately, there is another incubation period before the next set of signs and symptoms develop. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that the average latent incubation period is about three to seven weeks, although they do report a range from seven days to 10 years, with the longer time periods occurring infrequently.

The symptoms and signs of rabies in humans may consist of some or many of the following according to the CDC and NIH:

When these symptoms develop, the person will likely die from the disease. Less than 10 people have survived after developing such clinical rabies symptoms, and most of the few survivors had some previous level of treatment. When people develop clinical rabies, the best treatment is supportive care.

Pictures of muscle spasms and delirium in a person with clinical rabies; note the need for restraints.
Figure 1: Muscle spasms and delirium in a person with clinical rabies; note the need for restraints. SOURCE: CDC

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Rabies - Symptoms Question: Did you or someone you know have rabies? What were the main symptoms and when did they appear?
Rabies - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment have you received to treat rabies? Describe what the experience is like.
Rabies - Vaccine for Prevention Question: Has your pet received a rabies vaccine? Please share reasons for or against vaccinating your pet for this disease.