Most of us must have realized that rabies can be deadly. The effects of rabid animal bites can be life-threatening when failed to take care. Unfortunately, in some cases, people are ignorant about what signs and symptoms rabies might develop. By the time they realize the weirdness, it might be too late. However, similar to other diseases and illness, precautions can get rid of rabies virus from spreading and causing deadly events.
How does rabies virus spread?
In animals which might be prone to rabies, such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, and even cats and dogs, rabies virus is present in the saliva and transmittable to other animals and humans through bites. This disease can also be transmitted through direct contacts between the infectious saliva and the mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. Inside the victim’s body, the virus starts attacking the nervous system, causing various effects, from the flu-like symptoms to partial paralysis.
How long does rabies occur after a bite?
Both animals and humans can develop rabies when they are bitten by infectious animals. However, the length of period through which the rabies virus develops can be different between rabies in animals and humans.
In animals, the symptoms of rabies develop from 2 weeks to several months, and may vary according to the species. This virus is slow moving and for instance, the incubation period can last between 3 to 8 weeks in dogs and 2 to 6 weeks in cats. Prior to rabid animal bite, victim animals might develop some phases of rabies development, through which the virus moves from the bitten site to the victim’s brain, causing various symptoms and illnesses. Rabies development phases in animals include:
- Prodromal phase, which lasts for 2 to 3 days in dogs. In this phase, nervousness, anxiety, solitude, and fever may present. Behavioral changes are also observed. During the phase, the victimized animals constantly lick the site of infection.
- Furious phase, which in dogs lasts for one day to a week. During this period, infected animals are vicious and are likely to attack when disturbed or caged.
- Paralytic phase, which develops within 2 to 5 days after the first sign is noticed. In this phase, nerves around the head and throat are attacked, resulting in the difficulty in swallowing. During the phase, dogs, cats, and other rabid animals salivate excessively and some of their muscles might become paralyzed.
In humans, however, rabies incubating period develops within 3 to 8 weeks after the bite. However, in some cases, symptoms occur faster, that is within 10 days after someone got bitten. Some other cases, on the other hands, found out that rabies symptoms can occur even after years post to the bite. Once these symptoms develop, rabies is usually fatal. Hence, immediate treatment which is performed soon after the bite or scratch is required in order to minimize the spreading. Compared to the phases in animals, rabies symptom development in humans is almost similar. The three phases in animals also occur with human rabies symptom development. Once these symptoms develop, rabies is usually fatal. Hence, immediate treatment which is performed soon after the bite or scratch is required in order to minimize the spreading. Compared to the phases in animals, rabies symptom development in humans is almost similar. The three phases in animals also occur with human rabies symptom development. In humans, the phases are described as below:
- The first phase begins with fever and tingling or painful sensation around the site of the wound where the animal has bitten. It is still possible to save someone’s life when the symptoms of this early phase are recognized properly.
- The second phase is continued with severe insomnia, hallucinations, aggressiveness, and extreme unexplained fear. This is the phase where the virus has started attacking the nervous system, causing difficulty to control over real feelings and emotion.
- The last phase ends with severe nervous problems, since the virus does not only attack the system, but also the brain. When vital organs and muscles are attacked, infected humans might be partly paralyzed. At this phase, rabies is extremely lethal and may be resistant to vaccines.