The rabies virus is in the family Rhabdoviridae in the Mononegavirale order of viruses. The rabies virus is usually bullet-shaped and is made of a long single-stranded spiral chain of RNA. The virus envelope is made of matrix protein and is studded with glycoproteins. 3.
People usually contract rabies after they are bitten by an animal that has been infected with the rabies virus, though it has been shown that in rare cases rabies can infect people who just touch infected animals. The virus spreads from the site of the bite. The rabies virus attacks nerve cells in the body, because the immune system doesn’t check nerve cells as frequently as other cells. After a while, the rabies virus reaches the spinal, a large of complex of nerves leading to the brain. Once the virus is in the brain, it finds a nerve cell and uses its glycoproteins to attach to the membrane. The virus is then brought into the nerve cell by pinocytosis. After the virus enters the nerve cell, it usually moves through the cytoplasm and hijacks the free ribosomes. The virus instructs the ribosomes to produce copies of itself. The copies leave the brain and travel down through the nerves to the salivary glands, where the virus waits for the person to bite something else, so that the virus will again be transmitted. 4.
Although the rabies virus can infect all warm-blooded mammals, it mostly affects raccoons, particularly on the East Coast. In the United States, cases of human rabies are increasingly rare, but some do occur. Living in a developing country increases your risk of getting rabies. People who work near animals are also more likely to get the virus. Finally, recent wounds to the head and neck are thought to increase the rate at which the rabies virus moves to the brain. 5.
Symptoms of rabies include fever, headache, agitation, anxiety, confusion, difficulty swallowing water, excessive salivation (foaming at the mouth), hydrophobia due to the difficulty of swallowing water,...
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