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Rabies. Danielle Flores & Bailey Brown. What is Rabies?. Rabies is a preventable viral disease of warm blooded mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Etiology . Rabies is caused by lyssaviruses in the Rhabdovirus family

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Danielle Flores & Bailey Brown

What is rabies

What is Rabies?

  • Rabies is a preventable viral disease of warm blooded mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.



  • Rabies is caused by lyssaviruses in the Rhabdovirus family

  • The Rhabdoviruses are uniquely bullet-shaped. They contain a negative stranded RNA genome and are very stable to drying.

  • Lyssaviruses are a group of viruses that includes rabies and bat lyssavirus

  • Lyssaviruses are usually confined to 1 major species in a given area, although spillover to other species is common.



Rabies history

Rabies History

  • The disease was first documented by the ancient Babylonians.

  • GirolamaFracastoro discovered the rabies virus.

  • Louis Pasteur discovered the rabies vaccine in 1895, when he was 63 years old, relying on Fracastoro's written notes.

  • Rabies was so feared in early history that many patients who suffered from the illness were put to death, either intentionally or accidentally

  • It was common practice to shoot, poison, suffocate or use some other form to kill any animal or human with the rabies virus.



  • Breed: Rabies most commonly affects carnivores and bats, but can affect all mammals.

  • Age: Young animals may be more susceptible to rabies than older animals.

  • Gender: It is unknown whether the males or females are more susceptible to rabies.



  • Rabies is zoonotic (primarily through bats)

  • Rabies can infect all mammals through transmission in the saliva(dogs are primary vectors)

  • Most exposure results from animal bites

  • When an animal is bit, the virus ascends through the peripheral nerves to the brain. Once it enters the brain, the virus replicates. It then moves to the salivary glands.

  • After the virus enters the salivary glands, it may be transmitted to other animals or humans.

Clinical phases

Clinical Phases

  • The clinical course may be divided into 3 phases

  • Prodromal

  • Lasts 1-3 days

  • Loss of appetite

  • Lethargy

  • Intermittent fever

  • irritability

  • Excitative

  • “mad-dog” phase

  • Lasts less than a week

  • Sometimes skipped

  • Lack of coordination, twitching, and/or seizures

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Restlessness and roaming

  • lack of recognition for familiar people and places

  • Lack of fear toward natural predators

  • paralytic/endstage

  • Foaming at the mouth

    • This symptom is caused by the growing paralysis of the throat and jaw muscle

  • Slack jawed appearance

  • Full body paralysis, which results in death

  • It should be noted that the virus can remain active inside a dead animal for forty-eight hours

Clinical signs

Clinical Signs

  • Most animals will exhibit signs of disturbance in the CNS, but signs vary with species.

  • Common signs include:

    • progressive paralysis

    • sudden anorexia

    • apprehension or nervousness

    • Irritability

    • Hyperexcitability

    • Ataxia

    • altered phonation

    • changes in temperament



  • Humans:

    • Fluorescent antibody test on punch biopsy of skin from the nuchal region and corneal impressions

    • In vitro virus isolation from saliva

    • Virus neutralization assay on serum, for evidence of rabies antibody

    • Virus neutralization assay on cerebrospinal fluid, for evidence of rabies antibody

    • rt-pcr (Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction) for viral RNA and genomic nucleotide sequence analysis on saliva

  • Animals:

    • Testing in animals is most frequently done using the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test.

    • requires brain tissue from animals suspected of being rabid.

    • The test can only be performed post-mortem



  • No cure.

  • if a person is bitten by a rabid animal and has not yet experienced symptoms, there is an extremely effective post-exposure treatment, which includes an injection of rabies immune globulin and several containing rabies vaccine given over a 28-day period.

    • Rabies vaccination (can be given before or after infection) using a human diploid cell vaccine (HDC) or Purified chick embryo cell vaccine (PCEC).

    • Killed rabies vaccine is given at 12 weeks or older in dogs and cats.



  • Always wash and care for a wound, if bitten, with soap and water as soon as possible.

  • If your pet bites a person, it must be quarantined for 10 days at your expense.



  • Rabies is considered a fatal disease, with death occurring three days to one week from the first sign of symptoms.

  • There are few, if any, reports of recovery from rabies.

Pathologic lesions

Pathologic Lesions

  • Histopathologic evidence of rabies inflammation in brain tissue and meninges includes the following:

    • Mononuclear infiltration

    • Perivascular cuffing of lymphocytes or polymorphonuclear cells

    • Lymphocytic foci

    • Babes nodules consisting of glial cells

    • Negri bodies


Perivascular cuffing or inflammation around a blood vessel. Perivascular inflammatory cell infiltrates in hematoxylin & eosin stained brain tissue. (100x Magnification

Babes Nodules


Negri body in infected neuron

Enlargement of a Negri body in Sellers stained brain tissue. Note the basophilic (dark blue granules in the inclusion).

P revention


  • Avoid Wild Animals (&BATS!)

    • Many bites and scratches that necessitate post exposure therapy occur when people try to feed or handle a wild animal.

  • Vaccinate Domestic Animals

    • Approved rabies vaccines are currently available for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle, and sheep.

  • Pre-exposure Vaccination of Humans

    • Pre-exposure vaccination should be offered to all persons whose activities place them at increased risk for being exposed to the rabies virus or to potentially rabid animals .

  • Prevent contact with saliva of infected animals,

  • Wash bite wounds and apply providone-iodine solution;

  • Vaccinate dogs and cats

Client education

Client Education

  • Vaccinate pets

  • Never handle wild animals that appear tame

  • Don’t leave food outside

  • The quarantine is to protect humans, not your pet.

We don’t want rabies!


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZj3C0MMQVA



  • http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/102300.htm&word=rabies

  • http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/

  • http://www.nwcphp.org/docs/rabies/prevention.html

  • http://dogs.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Rabies_Symptoms

  • http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/rabiesbatinfection.html

  • http://www.wadsworth.org/rabies/prof/ante.htm

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