Rabies

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What are rabies symptoms and signs?

Symptoms can occur as fast as within the first week of the infection.

The early symptoms of rabies are very generalized and include weakness, fever, and headaches. Without a history of a potential exposure to a rabid animal, these symptoms would not raise the suspicion of rabies as they are very similar to the common flu or other viral syndromes.

The disease can then take two forms:

  1. With paralytic rabies (approximately 20% of cases), the patient's muscles slowly become paralyzed (usually starting at the site of the bite). This is the less common form and ends in coma and death.
  2. With furious rabies (about 80% of cases), the patient exhibits the classic symptoms of rabies, such as

Once the clinical signs of rabies occur, the disease is nearly always fatal.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2016

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