Rabies is an acute viral disease that can be transmitted from wild animals to unvaccinated pets and livestock, as well as to humans. It is caused by the rabies virus, which is present in the saliva of infected animals, and is transmitted through infected secretions (usually through the bite of a rabid animal). Once infection occurs, the virus spreads to the central nervous system and causes inflammation in the brain (acute encephalitis). Rabies is almost always fatal.
Symptoms of Rabies
The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to the flu and may last for days. Signs and symptoms may include:
Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
How to Prevent Rabies
Rabies can be prevented or greatly reduced in incidence by government-mandated animal vaccinations, by oral vaccines fed to wild animals, and by avoiding any contact with an animal suspected of having rabies.