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Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that can affect the nervous
system (brain and spinal cord) of any kind of mammal, including humans.
Rabies-infected animals can spread the disease through their saliva or brain
Signs of rabies in animals may include excessive saliva or
sometimes foaming at the mouth, paralysis, or behavioral changes in a pet
(shyness when the pet used to be friendly) or no fear of humans in a wild
After rabies symptoms appear, the disease progresses quickly and
is very difficult to cure. Getting postexposure prophylaxis shots (PEP) before symptoms
occur usually gets rid of the virus before it can cause serious damage. Rabies
is nearly always fatal if not treated before symptoms appear.
People who believe they may have been exposed to the rabies virus
should seek medical attention immediately.
August 27, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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