Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.

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2018 World Rabies Day

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Our Global Voices Blog

Read about CDC’s fight against rabies around the world

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Over the last 100 years, rabies in the United States has changed dramatically.

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Most deaths from rabies occur in countries with inadequate public health resources and limited access to preventive treatment.

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CDC receives calls and e-mails from individuals asking how they can help make a difference in the fight against rabies.

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