Rabies should be suspected in any patient with a history of animal exposure who has an unexplained encephalitis or myelitis. It is a rare cause of encephalitis in industrialised nations; therefore, more common causes should be simultaneously considered and excluded. Symptoms of rabies progress rapidly over a period of days. If this rapid progression does not occur, rabies infection is less likely.
Rabies is a notifiable disease in many countries. Cases should be reported immediately to local health authorities.
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