The most common cause of rabies is a dog bite in a country where rabies is common (it is not found in UK dogs). Some wild bats in the UK carry rabies, & it is also found in cats, mongooses, jackals, foxes, & raccoons. All mammals can carry rabies.
If you are bitten by an animal in a location known to have rabies infections, wash the wound immediately with soap & running water, flushing the wound with the water for 10-15 minutes. Then disinfect it with alcohol or antiseptic, leave it uncovered, & seek immediate medical attention.
Commonly affected locations
Afghanistan, Argentina, Asia, Africa, Central America, South America
Symptoms begin quite soon after being bitten or scratched by an infected animal, starting out as flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, & malaise (generally feeling ill), as well as possible anxiety, & soreness or itching at the site of the wound.
As the disease develops, the symptoms become more severe & include:
- mental confusion
- frothing at the mouth
- aggression, fear
- difficulty swallowing & breathing
- muscle spasms
- hydrophobia (fear of water)