Rabies Virus, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Rabies or commonly known as mad dog disease is a serious disease that attacks the brain and nervous system. This disease is caused by rabies virus and classified as a deadly disease that must be treated quickly. A person can get a mad dog virus if bitten by an infected animal.

Rabies mainly occurs in wild animals, most commonly in skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes. Pets including cats and dogs can also be infected. When a person begins to show signs and rabies symptoms, this disease is almost always fatal. Therefore, anyone who is likely to have a risk of developing rabies must be protected by the rabies vaccine.

Rabies Virus and Causes

Rabies virus originates from lyssaviruses and attacks mammals. Actually, all mammals can carry or transmit this virus. However, the most common are dogs, cats, monkeys, bats, mongoose, and foxes. Especially, in Africa and Asia, most cases of rabies are caused by dog bites.

Rabies Virus

The rabies virus that infects these animals can spread to humans through bites, scratches, licks, or even spurts of saliva that hit the eyes and scars on the human skin. Related to the case of rabies transmission from human to human, so far, this is usually caused by transplants or organ transplants.

After entering the human body, the rabies virus will multiply before it spreads to the nerve endings. Then the virus will go to the spinal cord and brain. From this central nervous system, the rabies virus then spreads to the lungs, kidneys, salivary glands, and other organs.

Rabies Symptoms

After entering the body, lyssaviruses will experience an incubation period of two weeks to three months. If you are infected, you have the possibility to recover f treatment is immediately carried out during the virus incubation period. But if the virus has passed the incubation period and entered the symptom stage, rabies will be difficult to treat.

Initial symptoms of rabies

  • Fever
  • Fatigue and cold
  • A sore throat
  • Restless
  • Confused
  • Irritable
  • Nausea
  • A headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in sleeping or insomnia
  • Pain and tingling in the infected area

Advanced symptoms of rabies

After the initial symptoms, the next symptoms of rabies will look worse. Usually, this occurs within a period of 2-10 days.
  • Experience hallucinations
  • Become hyperactive
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Often agitated and rages
  • High fever
  • Always drooling or hypersalivation
  • Continuous erection in male rabies sufferers
  • Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis
  • The hair on the skin that looks standing
  • Having delusions

Patients also experience hydrophobia or fear of water. Before reaching this stage, they will usually feel a sore throat and difficulty drinking. When they try to swallow water, the throat muscles will experience seizures and last for several seconds. Besides experiencing hydrophobia, most rabies sufferers also experience photophobia or fear of light and aerophobia or fear of the wind.

Rabies Symptoms

Rabies Treatment

The treatment depends on the status of the disease, whether the virus is still at the incubation stage or has shown symptoms. If you have not shown symptoms, then a series of treatments called post-exposure prophylaxis must be done to prevent the virus from progressing to the symptom stage.

Post-exposure Prophylactic

Post-exposure prophylactic treatment consists of three stages.
  • First, the bites of rabies-carrying animals must be cleaned immediately and use clean running water to clean the wound. Use an antiseptic or alcohol to sterilize the wound. Let the wound remain open because it is feared that the nerve endings will be exposed to the rabies virus
  • Second, giving rabies immunoglobulin as a special preparation for antibodies. Rabies immunoglobulin is also called anti-rabies serum (SAR). The most important type of SAR that used today is a homologous serum made from human blood serum. Immunoglobulin functions as an antibody that can neutralize the rabies virus and prevent the virus from spreading to the nervous system
  • Third, giving a series of rabies vaccinations. The doctor will still give you rabies vaccinations even though you have already got them. You will receive four rabies vaccine injections if you have never been vaccinated before. For patients who have been vaccinated against rabies, doctors will only give two vaccine shots.

Types of Rabies Vaccinations

There are several types of rabies vaccination (VAR) including neural network vaccines, purified chicken embryo cell vaccines (PCEC), human diploid cell vaccine (HDCV), and purified Vero cell vaccine (PVRV). The differentiation among these vaccines is the sample as the ingredient of the maker.

The vaccines that are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) are HDCV, PCEC, and PVRV. Neural tissue vaccines are not included as recommended because after being examined, the vaccine can cause permanent disability such as muscle paralysis.


Rabies is a serious and deadly disease that attacks the brain and nervous system. You can get this disease if bitten by an infected animal such as skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, dogs, cats, mammals. Go to the doctor immediately to take the appropriate treatment. 

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