Notifiable disease in many countries.
Post-exposure prophylaxis with wound cleansing, immunisation, and rabies immunoglobulin is highly effective at preventing the disease when given promptly and properly.
Symptoms begin with a non-specific prodromal illness. In encephalitic rabies, this is followed by early-onset behavioural changes and late-onset paralysis. In the paralytic form, the behavioural changes are absent.
Almost always fatal following onset of clinical signs. The disease is rapidly progressive, leading to death within 2 weeks in most cases. Some survivors have been reported.
An acute viral encephalomyelitis caused by the rabies virus and other members of the Lyssavirus genus, which is transmitted by animal bites, mainly dogs in developing countries and bats in other countries including the US.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a global goal to achieve no human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies by 2030.
History and exam
- saliva PCR and viral culture
- skin biopsy (neck) with direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) and PCR
- CSF cytology
- CSF biochemistry
- CSF rabies neutralising antibody
- serum rabies IgM or IgG
- CSF herpes simplex PCR
- CSF enterovirus PCR
- CSF West Nile virus IgM
- serum N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antibodies
National Center for Public Health
National Health Institute
SR declares that he has no competing interests.
Medical College of Wisconsin
The Medical College of Wisconsin receives funds for research grants related to rabies. RW provides advice to teams treating human rabies and is an author of a number of references cited in this monograph.
Dr Sergio Recuenco and Dr Rodney Willoughby would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Kis Robertson, a previous contributor to this monograph. KR declares that she has no competing interests.
School of Public Health
Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Health and Molecular Sciences
James Cook University
PL is a member of the Australian Travel Health Advisory Group that is supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline. PL has received travel grants from GlaxoSmithKline to attend travel medical conferences in the last 5 years.
Department of Family and Community Medicine
Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
AG declares that he has no competing interests.
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