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 Rabies

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PostSubject: Rabies   Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:19 am

Rabies is a viral infection typically spread by bite through the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies is easily avoidable in the pet population through rabies immunization shots, which are typically required of pet owners living in the United States. Other countries however do not have such requirements leading to numerous human deaths especially in the countries of Africa and India.

The rabies virus is an RNA virus, which do not replicate using a DNA intermediate. The virus itself is shaped similar to a bullet with spikes.

Typically an infected animal will exhibit erratic behavior due to the effect the virus has on the animalís brain. Once the virus reaches the brain it rapidly causes encephalitis, which is an acute inflammation of the brain.

Rabies is first presented with flu-like symptoms and presents itself typically between 3-12 weeks of exposure although it may take as long as 2 years. Symptoms typically progress in severity until full-blown insanity and subsequent death.

There is no known cure for rabies and the only real hope is in vaccination, which should occur as soon as possible after a bite before the virus has the ability to take hold. Typically the period of time for vaccination should be within 14 days of exposure with a treatment regimen lasting over a 28 day period, which is critical to success.

During the progression of the infection an animal will typically produce large amounts of saliva coupled with the inability to swallow (commonly known as foaming at the mouth). All such animals exhibiting this symptom should be avoided at all costs and reported to the local authorities so that immediate action can be taken to reduce the risk of bite and transmission.

Only six people have survived have full-blown contraction of rabies and of the six only one (Jeanna Giese) survived without severe brain damage.

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