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6 Things to Know About Rabies in Humans


The word rabies most often brings to mind images of an aggressive dog that is foaming at the mouth, not unlike that portrayed in Stephen King’s Cujo. And while we’re most aware that the disease can affect animals, humans can also contract rabies.

A life-threatening virus that attacks the central nervous system, Healthline.com says “rabies is transmitted to humans via bites and scratches from infected animals.” It’s possible for rabies to be treated, but only if it is detected early on—otherwise it can be fatal. Here are six things to know about rabies in human and the symptoms to keep an eye out for.

1. Initial Onset

Even if you’ve been bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, it may be hard to tell right away if you’ve contracted the virus. That’s because there’s an incubation period that can typically ranges from 30-60 days before symptoms begin developing. Although in some cases, eMedicineHealth.com says “it may range from less than 10 days to several years.”

When symptoms do begin appearing, known as the initial onset period, they will likely resemble those associated with the flu, including fever, weakness or headache. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s also possible for the person to experience “discomfort or a prickling or itching sensation at the site of bite.” During this initial onset period, which typically lasts from tw0 to 10 days, is when the disease may be treated.

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