What Are the Risk Factors and Symptoms of Rabies?

Q:
What are the risk factors and symptoms of rabies?

A:
Factors that can increase your risk of rabies include:

  • Activities that are likely to put you in contact with wild animals that may have rabies, such as exploring caves where bats live or camping without taking precautions to keep wild animals away from your campsite
  • Traveling or living in developing countries where rabies is more common, including countries in Africa and Southeast Asia
  • Working in a laboratory with the rabies virus
  • Wounds to the head or neck, which may help the rabies virus travel to your brain more quickly

The first sign of rabies is fever. You might feel generally tired or weak. You may also feel pain, tingling, or burning at the site of the wound. As the virus spreads through your central nervous system, you’ll develop other symptoms. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Being easily agitated
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperactivity
  • Salivating more than usual
  • Slight or partial paralysis

In time, these symptoms give way to coma, heart or lung failure, and death.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.