Rabies

  • Rabies is a fatal viral infection carried in the saliva of warm-blooded animals; the transfer to humans is usually from a rabid dog.
  • Symptoms in an infected animal include unusual behaviour, aggressiveness, excessive drooling and paralysis.
  • Symptoms in humans appear about 20 - 60 days after being bitten by a rabid animal. Deep or multiple bites, particularly to the head and neck, result in symptoms appearing sooner. An early symptom is tingling, pain or intense itchiness at the bite site, even when the wound has healed. Other early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and behavioural changes.
  • If a person has been bitten by a rabid animal, the disease can be prevented by an injection of rabies immune globulin and a course of vaccinations. This must preferably be given within 48 hours to be effective.
  • Dogs should be vaccinated against rabies every three years.