Most of us have heard of rabies and know that it can be transmitted to humans from animal bites, but what exactly is rabies?
Rabies is a virus that infects mammals. The most common way for a human to contract rabies is through an animal bite. Wild animal bites carry a risk of infection, as do bites from pets. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, causing serious problems that will ultimately lead to death. Symptoms begin much like other illnesses: fever, headache and general weakness or discomfort. As the infection progresses, the symptoms get more severe. They 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 comes within days of the onset of these severe symptoms.
If you or a loves one is bitten by an animal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water. This is the most effective thing you can do to prevent infection. After washing, seek medical attention. Your doctor will decide if you need a rabies vaccination. Unlike what you may have seen on TV, current rabies vaccinations are given in the arm and are no more painful than a flu shot. Treatment involves a series of shots over the course of fourteen days.
Once the victim of an animal bite has received medical treatment, it is a good idea to call an attorney. An attorney can help to determine if anyone is liable for the attack and how the victim may be able to pursue damages