The rabies virus is a disease caused by a rabid animal. The virus is transmitted through a bitten or licked human or animal. The rabies virus is unable to pass through intact skin, but it can enter the body through a break in skin or a puncture. Infected humans can also catch rabies from bats by inhaling contaminated air, but this is extremely unlikely.
Symptoms of rabies are usually nonspecific, but they may suggest involvement of the central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and respiratory systems. The gastrointestinal system may experience pain, diarrhea, and nausea. The brain may experience seizures, psychia, and apprehension. The virus’s genome is encoded by five genes. These genes determine the structure and organization of the rabies virus. The ribosomal DNA is the nucleic acid.
The disease usually starts with fever, headache, and general ill feeling. Infected people become restless, confused, or uncontrollably excited. They may also have difficulty sleeping. During the incubation period, the rabies virus replicates in muscle tissue and spreads centrifugally to multiple organs. The case-to-fatality ratio is near one to one, but the exact pathogenic mechanisms of rabies are not completely understood.
Infection with rabies is transmitted through contact with an infected animal or by contact with its saliva. Approximately 50% of human rabies cases are attributed to bites. However, nonbite exposure is not the main cause of infection. It is a chronic condition that requires immediate treatment. While the disease is not curable, it is preventable with vaccines and preventative measures. If you are bitten by an infected animal, it is important to check the rabies information in your area.