Rabies infects the central nervous system and is almost always fatal. Death occurs within days of symptoms which include: fever, headache, confusion, anxiety, insomnia, partial paralysis, hallucinations and increased saliva production.
Rabies is very rare in the US—there have only been 27 cases in the last twenty years—but is more common in other places, especially less-developed countries where people are exposed to animals more. If rabies isn’t treated, it “almost always” results in death. When humans do contract the disease, it can take usually 30-60 days for symptoms to appear (though the range can sometimes be as little as 10 days to as much as several years). The first symptoms are pain, tingling, or itching from the wound. Once the disease has advanced, hydrophobia or aerophobia can develop. This is when a patient experiences “irregular contractions and spasms of the breathing muscles” when exposed to water or sharp puffs of air. Once the disease reaches certain vital organs, there is no treatment.
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