NHS Service

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Rabies?

rabies symptoms

Rabies is a very serious disease that can still be found across the globe. Even though it is not as common as it once was, once the rabies symptoms appear, it is almost always fatal.  It is still very important to understand the disease and how to prevent it.

Rabies is almost always contracted through a bite or deep scratch from an animal that has the virus. It is more prevalent in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, but it can be contracted anywhere there is an infected animal.  Most cases are from dog bites, but rabies can also be found in any warm-blooded mammal such as:

  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Bats
  • Cats
  • Mongooses
  • Jackals
  • Skunks

Most cases of rabies are linked to bites from wild animals. Once infected, the virus travels through the body before attacking the central nervous system and the brain, eventually leading to death.

Signs and Symptoms for Rabies

Depending on factors like where you were bitten, the symptoms of rabies may not appear for weeks or months. Early signs of rabies in humans are often similar to the flu.

Rabies Early Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Fatigue

As it progresses, more serious neurological and psychological symptoms of rabies will begin. These symptoms can last for 2-10 days before the patient succumbs to the virus.

Advanced Symptoms of Rabies

  • Delirium and confusion
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Muscle spasms or paralysis
  • Excessive saliva production or frothing at the mouth
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Only a handful of people in recorded medicine have survived once the early signs for rabies have started. That is why it is important to take preventative measures to protect yourself from the virus. The best way to do this is through rabies vaccination. The rabies vaccine is recommended for anyone travelling or working in an area where rabies is a risk. It is given in 3 doses into your upper arm over a 28 day period. You should aim to have all doses or boosters completed before any activity that risks exposure.

The rabies vaccine is not usually offered by the NHS so to get your rabies vaccination in London, contact Touchwood Pharmacy. We offer convenient and affordable vaccinations at their travel clinics.