Rabies is one of the most well known zoonotic diseases in the world, and is transmissible between a wide range of animals from dogs, cats, bats, etc. and can infect any mammal.

Group: Group V ((−)ssRNA)
Order: Mononegavirales
Family: Rhabdoviridae
Genus: Lyssavirus
Species: Rabies lyssavirus

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Rabies was first recorded way back in the Mesopotamian Empire in 2000 B.C. In this culture, if an owner with a rabid dog did not take proper precautions against the dog biting others they would be fined. Rabies came to the new world in 1769 starting with a case in Boston. The majority of cases, 99%, are transferred between infected dogs and humans through bites, specifically the saliva. Rabies is considered one of the most concerning diseases of history and modem time. In 1885 a vaccine was developed in France by Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux for humans.

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Facts about Rabies:

  • One of the worst parts about rabies if its prevalence throughout the world and ability to rapidly disseminate.
  • Rabies is present on all continents other than Antarctica
  • Almost 99% fatal for human already showing symptoms or humans who are un-vaccinated
  • Vaccination within 6 days of infections has been seen to have a 100% success rate for survival.
  • In 2010, 26,000 people diseased from rabies within the world. This is a significant decrease from the 54,000 deaths in 1990.
  • Well-known for its neurotropic effects- infecting nerve cells and altering human behaviors by shutting down the nervous system
  • First signs and symptoms of the flu such as fever, headache and dizziness, but can progress to confusion, anxiety and agitation.
  • Many people who are infected completely depersonalize in the later stages, reverting to pure “rage” personalities, attacking, biting scratching people and foaming at the mouth.
  • Rabies infection is the main disease cited in sci-fi and fantasy for “zombie-like” behaviors and many story lines utilize signs and symptoms similar to rabies as zombie indicators. So… the zombie apocalypse is coming!
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