URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/rabies.html

Rabies

Also called: Hydrophobia 

Summary

Rabies is a deadly animal disease caused by a virus. It can happen in wild animals, including raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes, or in dogs, cats or farm animals. People get it from the bite of an infected animal.

In people, symptoms of rabies include fever, headache and fatigue, then confusion, hallucinations and paralysis. Once the symptoms begin, the disease is usually fatal. A series of shots can prevent rabies in people exposed to the virus. You need to get them right away. If an animal bites you, wash the wound well; then get medical care.

To help prevent rabies

  • Vaccinate your pet. Rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats and farm animals
  • Don't let pets roam
  • Don't approach stray animals. Animals with rabies might be aggressive and vicious, or tired and weak

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