Rabies is a deadly virus that affects mammals, particularly humans. It is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite or scratch. The virus travels through the nerves to the brain and can cause severe neurological symptoms and death if not treated quickly. Rabies is a global health concern with over 59,000 human deaths reported annually.
Rabies is caused by the rabies virus, which belongs to the family Rhabdoviridae and genus Lyssavirus. The virus is most commonly transmitted from wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and other carnivores. Domestic animals such as cats and dogs can also transmit the virus to humans if they are infected with rabies. In some cases, people have been infected after being scratched or bitten by an animal that was later found to be rabid.
The incubation period for rabies in humans varies from one week to several months depending on the location of the bite or scratch on the body and how deep it penetrates into tissue. During this time, there may be no symptoms at all or mild flu-like symptoms such as fever and headache may occur. As the virus progresses it causes progressive paralysis of muscles in the area of infection followed by agitation and confusion which can lead to seizures and coma before death occurs.
In order to prevent rabies in humans, it is important to avoid contact with wild animals or any animal that appears sick or aggressive. If you are bitten by any animal it is important to seek medical attention immediately even if there are no signs of illness in order to receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP consists of a series of vaccinations given within 24 hours after exposure in order to prevent infection with rabies virus from developing into clinical disease. It should be noted that PEP does not cure an existing infection but rather prevents further progression of illness if administered properly and promptly after exposure.
In addition to avoiding contact with wild animals and seeking medical attention after a bite or scratch from any animal, it is also important for pet owners to ensure their pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations against rabies as this will help protect both them and their family members from contracting this deadly disease. Vaccinating pets against rabies has been shown to significantly reduce human cases of rabies throughout much of Europe where pet vaccination programs are mandatory while still allowing wildlife populations freedom from infection due to effective control measures taken against them when necessary (e.g., culling).
Overall, while rabies continues to be a global health concern due its high mortality rate among humans who contract it without prompt treatment; there are several steps that can be taken both individually and collectively in order reduce its incidence rates among people worldwide including avoiding contact with wild animals, seeking medical attention immediately after being bitten by any animal even if there are no signs of illness present at first; as well as vaccinating domestic pets against rabies so that they do not become vectors for transmission between wildlife populations and people living nearby them whom may come into contact with them either directly or indirectly through another animal which has been exposed previously such as a stray dog or cat wandering around neighborhoods looking for food sources etc..