Rabies: Facts & MythsSMB Blog

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Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals. It is caused by a lyssavirus, which is an RNA virus from the Rhabdoviridae family. This disease only infects mammals and humans are the most common victims.

It can be transmitted through the saliva or other body fluids of an infected animal. The rabies virus enters the body through breaks in the skin, such as cuts or scratches. A person can also get rabies if they are bitten by an infected animal.

Rabies is a deadly disease of the central nervous system. It is an incurable disease of mammals transmitted by a bite from an infected animal.


The symptoms of rabies include fever, weakness, headaches, sore throat, muscle spasms, and mental confusion. After a few days to a week after exposure, rabies causes agitation and abnormal behavior followed by paralysis and death. But there are some cases where people have survived rabies with intensive care provided post-exposure treatments such as immunoglobulin therapy and antiviral drugs.


There are many myths that are still circulating about the rabies virus. There are also many misconceptions about how it affects people. Let’s look into them.

1. Myth: Rabies is spread due to wild animals only nowadays.
    Fact: Up to 99% of rabies transmitted to humans occurs due to dogs.

2. Myth: Rabies is curable.
    Fact: Rabies is not a curable disease but post-exposure of the virus, treatment can be done to stop the infection.

3. Myth: Rabies only exists in the United States.
    Fact: Rabies is found throughout the world except for Antarctica.

4. Myth: Someone who has rabies will act like a zombie.
    Fact: Rabies can affect someone's behavior but does not cause someone to become aggressive or listless. The rabies virus affects the brain and spinal cord of an infected person, causing them to have trouble with muscle coordination, brain functions including memory and thinking skills, and breathing.


Prevention of Rabies:

1. Eliminating Rabies in Dogs: Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people.

2. Awareness on Rabies & Preventing Dog Bites: Education on dog behavior and bite prevention for both children and adults is an essential extension of a rabies vaccination program and can decrease both the incidence of human rabies and the financial burden of treating dog bites.

3. Immunization of People: Pre-exposure immunization might be indicated also for outdoor travelers and expatriates living in remote areas with a high rabies exposure risk and limited local access to rabies biologics. Immunization should also be considered for children living in or visiting such areas. As they play with animals, they may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites.