World Rabies Day: 28 September

Today is World Rabies Day.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated its fact sheet on Rabies.

Key Messages:

Rabies is a 100% vaccine preventable viral disease that is almost always fatal.

It occurs on all continents except Antarctica (more than 150 countries)

99% of all rabies is caused by dog bites.

The incubation period for rabies is typically 1–3 months, but may vary from <1 week to >1 year.

The initial symptoms of rabies are fever and often pain or an unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking or burning sensation (paraesthesia) at the wound site.

There are two forms of the disease:

Furious Rabies: People with furious rabies exhibit signs of hyperactivity, excited behaviour, hydrophobia and sometimes aerophobia. After a few days, death occurs by cardiorespiratory arrest.

Paralytic Rabies: This accounts for about 30% of the total number of human cases. It runs a less dramatic and usually longer course than the furious form. The muscles gradually become paralyzed, starting at the site of the bite or scratch. A coma slowly develops, and eventually death occurs. The paralytic form of rabies is often misdiagnosed, contributing to the under-reporting of the disease.

In humans, rabies cannot be diagnosed before the onset of disease.

Useful Links:

Link to the updated Fact sheet on Rabies:

Link to an infographic (PDF) on Rabies:

Link to 10 facts about Rabies:

Link to a previous article on Rabies:

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