Rabies, despite available vaccines, causes approximately 55,000 deaths every year. Diagnosing relies on noting physical behaviors such as hydrophobia, vomiting, fever, behavior changes, paralysis, and consciousness, as well as, using several methodologies to molecularly detect the presence of the virus. RABV often enters through a bite wound given that it is transmissible through saliva. Infection spreads from muscle fibers into the peripheral nervous system traveling to the central nervous system. Infection of the central nervous system can lead to encephalitis (furious rabies) or acute flaccid paralysis (paralytic rabies). Treatment relies heavily on the time of exposure. If the patient is diagnosed prior to being symptomatic, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can be administered. However, once the patient has begun displaying symptoms, therapy success rates sharply decline. Prevention includes vaccinating during both pre- and post-exposures, as well as utilizing Stepwise Approach towards Rabies Elimination (SARE) to aid impoverished countries in declining their rabies mortality rates.
Part of the book: Rabies Virus at the Beginning of 21st Century