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Rabies is a viral infection of the central and peripheral nervous systems that causes encephalitis with or without paralysis; it is virtually uniformly fatal.


Rabies has no known racial predilection.


Rabies has no known sexual predilection.


Rabies has no known age predilection.


Include the following in any examination of a patient who has been bitten by an animal:
  • Localization and documentation of the extent of the wound
  • Evidence of secondary complications, such as bacterial superinfection and tissue destruction
  • Neurologic examination of a patient with rabies - May reveal altered mental status, anxiety, hyperactivity, and bizarre behaviors with interspersed calm periods
  • Examination for autonomic instability –Hypertension, hypersalivation, hyperthermia, hyperventilation


  • Rabies is caused by the rabies virus, of the genus Lyssavirus and family Rhabdoviridae.
  • The bullet-shaped RNA virus has 3 major components: surface glycoprotein (G protein), outer envelope protein (M or matrix protein), and nucleocapsid.
  • Rabies virus is transmitted by bite or saliva of an infected mammal.
  • Any mammal can carry and potentially transmit the virus, but carnivorous species and bats are usually the agents of transmission.

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