Rabies, its name comes from a Latin word meaning "to rage" has struck fear in people for centuries.An Italian physician, Girolama Fracastoro, discovered that rabies was a disease fatal to humans as well as animals in the 16th century, calling it an incurable wound.Louis Pasteur created thefirst rabies vaccine in 1885 using live rabies virus (Hennessen, 17).Pasteur's early vaccine could cause serious, even fatal, reactions, but it was a start on the road to today's effective vaccines.Rabies has a long history in medicine, and now is well known.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, including humans.The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.Domestic animals account for less than 10% of the reported rabies cases, with cats, cattle, and dogs most often reported rabid (Finley, 34).
Rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy and ultimately death Early symptoms of rabies in humans are nonspecific, consisting of fever, headache, and general malaise.As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper salivation,difficulty swallowing, hydrophobia, and an unusual sensitivity to sound, light, and changes in temperature.Death usually occurs within days of the onset of symptoms (Hennessen, 98).
There are two forms of rabies."Furious" rabies largely affects the brain and causes and infected animal to be aggressive or excitable."Paralytic" or "dumb" rabies, mainly affects the spinal cord, causing the animal to be weak-limbed, lazy, and unable to raise its head or make sounds because neck and throat muscles are paralyzed.I…

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