How does rabies affect the nervous system?

Asked By: Leonte Lerena | Last Updated: 16th April, 2020
Category: medical health vaccines
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Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, or central nervous system (CNS). After it reaches the brain, the virus typically travels through the efferent nerves (nerves that carry impulses away from the CNS) to the salivary glands, which often causes increased salivation, or foaming at the mouth.

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Keeping this in consideration, what does rabies do to the nervous system?

Rabies. Rabies is a viral infection of the brain that is transmitted by animals and that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Once the virus reaches the spinal cord and brain, rabies is almost always fatal.

One may also ask, how many days the rabies will affect? Rabies symptoms appear when the rabies virus reaches the brain or spinal cord, usually 30 to 50 days after a person is bitten. However, this interval can vary from 10 days to more than a year.

Correspondingly, what damage does rabies do to the body?

Rabies causes acute inflammation of the brain, producing psychosis and violent aggression. The virus, which paralyzes the body's internal organs, is always deadly for those unable to obtain vaccines in time. Some 55,000 people die from rabies every year.

Does Rabies cause joint pain?

Also, 1 to 6% of people receiving the series will develop an immune complex-like syndrome 2 to 21 days later with itching, fever, fatigue, joint pain, arthritis, nausea and vomiting. A few rare cases of neurologic complications have been reported from this immunization, but all resolved by themselves.

38 Related Question Answers Found

Why does rabies cause a fear of water?

Why does rabies cause a fear of water? Rabies used to be known as hydrophobia because it appears to cause a fear of water. Intense spasms in the throat are triggered when trying to swallow. Even the thought of swallowing water can cause spasms.

How fast does rabies kill?

The person may also have fear of water. The symptoms eventually progress to delirium, and coma. Death usually occurs 2 to 10 days after first symptoms. Survival is almost unknown once symptoms have presented, even with intensive care.

How long does rabies live on object in saliva?

The virus is shed through the saliva, but usually just during the final 10 days of life. The virus is actually quite fragile, and can survive only 10 to 20 minutes in direct sunlight, but may live for up to two hours in saliva on an animal's coat.

How do you kill the rabies virus?

The rabies virus is a very fragile virus. As soon as the saliva dries, the virus is no longer infectious. The virus is easily killed by soaps, detergents, bleach, alcohol and ultraviolet light.

Can you get rabies from a scratch?


Rabies can't go through unbroken skin. People can get rabies only via a bite from a rabid animal or possibly through scratches, abrasions, open wounds or mucous membranes in contact with saliva or brain tissue from a rabid animal.

Is there a blood test for rabies?

Several tests are necessary to diagnose rabies ante-mortem (before death) in humans; no single test is sufficient. Tests are performed on samples of saliva, serum, spinal fluid, and skin biopsies of hair follicles at the nape of the neck. Serum and spinal fluid are tested for antibodies to rabies virus.

Can rabies live on clothes?

Wear protective face masks, gloves, clothes, and shoes when handling anything from an animal suspected to have rabies or when cleaning areas where suspected rabid animals are confined. The rabies virus does not survive long outside of animals. It is generally destroyed by heat, sunlight, or air.

Why does rabies kill you?

He determined that Rabies neither kills by "destroying neurons or causing inflammation in the brain," but instead, causes excitotoxicity, which overstimulates the brain and causes the cells to die.

Why does rabies make you aggressive?

Virus interacts with muscle receptors
Hueffer explains that the “rabies virus only has five genes and very little information. “Yet this virus can reprogram a dog's behavior so it loses fear, becomes aggressive and bites, which allows the virus to spread through the dog's saliva.”

What is the first symptom of rabies in humans?


The first symptoms of rabies can appear from a few days to more than a year after the bite happens. At first, there's a tingling, prickling, or itching feeling around the bite area. A person also might have flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, and tiredness.

What are the stages of rabies?

Five general stages of rabies are recognized in humans: incubation, prodrome, acute neurologic period, coma, and death (or, very rarely, recovery) (Fig. 61-1). No specific antirabies agents are useful once clinical signs or symptoms develop.

What cell does rabies attack?

The rabies virus, for example, is transmitted when an infected animal bites into a host's muscle. It then spreads into the end terminals of motor neurons innervating the muscle and travels along the neurons' long axon fibers to the neuronal cell bodies.

What are the long term effects of rabies?

As the disease progresses, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, hydrophobia (fear of water), and insomnia. The acute period of disease typically ends after 2 to 10 days. Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive.

Does cooking kill rabies?

Treatment can prevent rabies from developing in exposed humans. Rabies is almost always fatal in exposed humans who develop the disease. Thorough cooking will inactivate the rabies virus (see "Good Sanitary Practices - Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites in Game", but meat from infected game should not be eaten.

Is rabies contagious between humans?


Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. Transmission between humans is extremely rare, although it can happen through organ transplants, or through bites.

Why dogs die after biting?

For humans who contract rabies, a bite from an unvaccinated dog is by far the most common culprit. Once a person has been bitten, the virus spreads through their nerves to the brain. This activity causes severe inflammation of the brain and spinal cord after which the person deteriorates rapidly and dies.

Do humans bark when infected with rabies?

Those that develop the paralytic type of rabies without any evidence of excitation or viciousness may recover on rare occasions. Paralysis of the “voice” muscles in rabid dogs may produce a characteristic change in the sound of the bark. Rabies in humans is similar to that in animals.