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What Happens If You Get Rabies?

What would happen to you if you got Rabies?

By Okosisi GreatPublished 4 months ago 4 min read
What would happen if you got Rabies?

Rabies, a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, has long been a dreaded affliction due to its almost invariably fatal outcome. Caused by the rabies virus, the disease targets the nervous system, leading to a cascade of symptoms that culminate in severe neurological dysfunction. Understanding the progression and consequences of rabies infection is crucial for prompt intervention and prevention measures.

1. **The Initial Stage: Incubation and Onset of Symptoms:**

The journey into the horrors of rabies begins innocently enough with an incubation period that can vary widely, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months. During this seemingly quiet phase, the virus silently infiltrates the host's peripheral nervous system, making its way towards the central nervous system.

Once the virus reaches the central nervous system, the initial symptoms begin to manifest. These symptoms are often nonspecific and may include fever, headache, and malaise. At this point, individuals might not immediately connect these symptoms to a rabies infection, as they can be mistaken for various other ailments.

2. **The Dreaded Neurological Phase: Agitation, Hallucinations, and Hydrophobia:**

As the virus progresses, it infiltrates the brain, leading to the onset of the neurological phase. This is where the true horror of rabies becomes apparent. Affected individuals often exhibit hyperactivity, agitation, hallucinations, and a heightened state of anxiety. This frenzied behavior is often accompanied by a heightened sensitivity to light and sound.

One of the hallmark symptoms of rabies is hydrophobia, an irrational fear of water. Attempting to swallow, even a sip of water, becomes an excruciating ordeal for the patient due to painful spasms of the throat muscles. This hydrophobic response is a result of the virus's impact on the salivary glands and the fear of exacerbating the excruciating pain associated with swallowing.

3. **Paralysis and Respiratory Failure:**

As the rabies virus relentlessly advances, paralysis sets in. This paralysis typically begins in the muscles near the site of the initial infection, often the site of the animal bite. Gradually, it spreads throughout the body, eventually leading to respiratory failure. The inability to breathe autonomously becomes the ultimate threat to the infected individual's life.

The progression of paralysis is not only physically devastating but also psychologically harrowing. The individual remains fully conscious, aware of their deteriorating condition, and trapped within a body that is increasingly unresponsive to their commands. This cruel manifestation of the disease underscores the urgency of preventive measures, as once symptoms appear, the disease is almost universally fatal.

4. **No Known Cure: The Desperate Race Against Time:**

The gravity of rabies lies in the absence of a cure once symptoms manifest. While immediate and thorough wound cleansing, along with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) consisting of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin, can prevent the onset of symptoms if administered promptly after exposure, once clinical signs appear, the outcome is almost always fatal. The near-inevitability of death has fueled the terror associated with rabies throughout history.

The urgency of treatment is emphasized by the fact that once the neurological symptoms become apparent, the virus has typically reached the brain, making any intervention exceedingly challenging. This inherent difficulty in treating established cases underscores the paramount importance of preventive measures and the rapid administration of PEP.

5. **Prevention: The Silver Lining in the Abyss of Rabies:**

Despite the grim outlook once symptoms surface, rabies is a preventable disease. Immediate and thorough wound cleaning, along with the administration of PEP, can effectively halt the progression of the virus if administered soon after exposure. For those in high-risk professions or regions where rabies is endemic, pre-exposure prophylaxis is a viable option.

Additionally, efforts to control rabies in animal populations through vaccination programs are crucial. Since the primary mode of transmission to humans is through bites from infected animals, reducing the prevalence of the virus in animal reservoirs is key to preventing human cases.


Rabies stands as a stark reminder of the fragility of life in the face of viral threats. Its progression from the innocuous incubation period to the harrowing neurological phase paints a grim picture of the toll it takes on the infected individual. The absence of a cure once symptoms manifest magnifies the importance of preventive measures and rapid intervention.

While the terror associated with rabies is undeniable, it is crucial to recognize that, in the modern era, we possess the knowledge and tools to prevent and control this deadly disease. Through vaccination programs, public awareness, and prompt medical intervention, we have the means to keep the menace of rabies at bay. In unraveling the mysteries of this ancient affliction, we empower ourselves to protect both human and animal populations from the horrors of a disease that has haunted humanity for centuries.


About the Creator

Okosisi Great

I am an Independent writer and student, I've always loved writing and i love to share that with others.

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