Communicable Diseases



  • It is a viral disease that is most often transmitted by being bitten or scratched by wild animals infected with rabies.
  • The disease is often fatal once symptoms appear.
  • Most rabies deaths worldwide are caused by bites from rabid dogs.
  • The virus can be found in other wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.


  • Furious rabies.
  • Paralytic rabies.


It is caused by transmission of the rabies virus from a rabid animal. It affects the central nervous system, eventually causing brain disease and death.

Transmission method:

People usually become infected with rabies after being deeply bitten or scratched by an animal infected with rabies (99% of cases are caused by dogs). The virus is transmitted if the saliva of infected animals comes into direct contact with the mucous membranes (such as eyes, mouth, or nose) or skin wounds.

The incubation period:

This is the period between infection with the rabies virus and the appearance of symptoms, as the virus takes time to travel to the brain and cause symptoms. It may last from weeks to several months, and the incubation period varies depending on the infected area (how far it is from the brain), the type of virus and the body’s immunity.

Identifying animals infected with rabies:

It is not easy to know if an animal has rabies just by looking at it. The only way to know if an animal or person has rabies is to perform laboratory tests. However, animals infected with rabies may behave strangely. Some may be aggressive and attempt to bite, or they may drool more than usual. Some may move slowly or allow a person to approach them. The best thing to do in such cases is never feed or approach a wild animal.


The first symptoms of rabies may be similar to influenza (such as weakness, discomfort, fever, or headache), and there may also be a feeling of discomfort, tingling, or itching at the site of the bite. These symptoms may persist for several days, and with the transmission of the virus  to the central nervous system, a gradual and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord occurs. There are two types of rabies:

  • The first type, “furious rabies,” causes hyperactivity, emotional behavior, hallucinations, hydrophobia (fear of water), and aerophobia (fear of air currents), and death occurs after a few days due to cardiac and respiratory arrest.
  • The second type, “paralytic rabies”, represents about 20% of the total cases of infection in which the muscles become gradually paralyzed starting from the site of the wound, then the case progresses to coma and then death.

When to see a doctor?

If you have been in direct physical contact with any wild or unfamiliar animals, especially when bitten or scratched.

Preventive treatment after being bitten or scratched:

After exposure to an animal infected with rabies, there must be an emergency response to prevent the virus from infecting the central nervous system leading the case to death. Preventive measures include the following:

  • Intensively wash the affected area with soap and water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Go to the nearest health care facility as soon as possible to treat the wound and take a series of rabies vaccines.
  • Rabies immune globulin may be given if necessary.


  • Avoid all wild animals, and do not approach them, including injured animals.
  • Avoid touching infected animals.
  • Wash the skin surface when exposed to touching or feeding an animal.
  • Wash wounds and get immediate vaccination when an animal bites or scratches the skin.

Prevention of rabies in pets:

Because pets can be infected with rabies as a result of being around wildlife and can then transmit it to humans, people should:

  • Ensure that the pet receives regular vaccinations against rabies.
  • Keep pets away from wild animals.

Last Update : 11 October 2023 12:03 PM
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