Rabies

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Rabies, it kills 30-70 thousand people each year around the world (CDC). 40,000 people are treated for it each year in the United States alone (CDC). Carried by rabid animals, this viral infection poses a threat to animal lovers alike. The primary problem of rabies is prevention, the effects are severe, and the causes are many. The virus is spread by animals. Warm blooded animals are required to transmit the virus and the disease is almost always fatal (CDC). It is passed through saliva from the host to the victim also through mucous membranes like the eyes or nose. Yet the most common ways of transition is through a bite with the virus containing saliva. The main animals that hold the virus are: skunk, fox, bat, raccoon, and the coyote (CDC). These wild animals account for 93% of the cases in the United States. The raccoon still leads as the major carrier and the animal is domestic in the Eastern United States. The skunk is native to the inland states, parts of Texas to Montana and all the way to Wyoming. The fox and the coyote are both native to the Mid Southern US, and the fox is also spotted in Alaska along the coast. Although not heard of lately, bats are a big carrier of the virus. They are common in most of the states except Hawaii (WebMD.com). The bats have also spread though out the world, and most recently in Australia. Australia was once free of rabies until rabid bats were found there recently (Mayo Clinic Proceedings). The virus can also be spread to domesticated animals, and most cases are reported in the summer and fall months. The three major domesticated animals are: cats, dogs, and cattle. The symptoms in humans are flu-like symptoms, anything ranging from fever to headache. After a few days after exposure, the human will experience the symptoms of clinical rabies: anxiety, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and also insomnia (CDC). These symptoms may last two to ten days. Once the clinical symptoms have appeared the fatality rate is very high. To date, there have only been six cases of survival from the clinical stage of rabies (CDC). Incubation period ranges form ten days to one year, but the average is 20 days. Also bites closer to the brain will progress faster and bites in the lower appendages will take longer to spread (Mayo Clinic Proceedings).

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