Rabies is an acute infectious disease caused by a virus Neuroiyctes rabid. The virus severely harms a central nervous system and without a timely emergency vaccination may lead to death. Saliva of an infected animal contains the virus of rabies. A person gets infected after being bitten by a sick animal. There three stages of rabies and each has its own characteristic symptoms. Let’s review them in turn.
The initial stage lasts for 1-3 days and the first symptoms of rabies are detected around the very place of the bite. The wound may completely disappear during this time, but the man begins to feel the bite. There is a malleable pain reaching its peak in the center of the bite accompanied by burning and itching as well as the increased skin sensitivity. The scar may become inflamed. The temperature varies from 37C to 37,3 C but commonly does not exceed the upper limit. There is also weakness, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. If the face was bitten, a person may experience visual and olfactory hallucinations, like intrusive odors, which do not really exist. Typical mental disorders are also observed, i.e. the patient feels a groundless fear, sadness and depression. In rare cases the anxiety is followed by irritability. A patient becomes apathetic to what is happening around him. A patient also sleeps badly and loses appetite. Terrible dreams may happen while sleeping.
Excitation phase lasts for 2-3 days and is characterized by a high prevalence of reflex excitability. One of the clearest symptoms is hydrophobia. When a patient tries to make a sip of water, a spasm of swallowing muscles and respiratory muscles emerges that may sometimes result in vomiting. This symptom develops over time and even a sound of flowing water or its appearance provokes a spasm of the larynx and pharynx. The nature of breathing changes too, it becomes short and convulsive. External factors exacerbate the response of the nervous system provoking convulsions that distort a patient’s face. Such convulsions may be triggered by a quick flow of air, sharp sound or even light. As a consequence, the patient is afraid of the factors that were of no importance before the disease. Pulse is very accelerated and the patient sweats heavily and suffers from abundant salivation. Mental disorders continue to progress. A strong psychomotor agitation is observed during the attack. The patient becomes violent and dangerous both for himself and other people and performs aggressive and violent actions. Patients may hit and even bite people or cause harm to themselves, for instance, they rip hair, clothes and hit the walls and floor. During the very attack a patient suffers from terrible auditory and visual hallucinations. A respiratory arrest is possible at the peak of the attack. Between the attacks a patient behaves adequately, answers questions correctly and shows no signs of aggression.
Duration of a paralysis stage is 12-24 hours. Cerebral cortex is not able to function properly and this is a main reason of paralysis. Paralysis may hurt a particular group of muscles or various organs (tongue, throat, etc.). Motor and sensory functions gradually fade and the attacks of convulsions and phobias become rare until they disappear at all. The patient calms down but a temperature significantly increases up to 40-42 C. An accelerated heart rate accompanied by a blood pressure drop emerges. The death of a patient is a result of the heart failure or respiratory paralysis.