Revision 3 for 'Rabies encephalitis'

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Rabies encephalitis

Rabies encephalitis


Infection results most frequently from transmission of the virus from an infected animal to a human via a bite. Occasionally infection can also occur via an open wound, mucous membranes or even as the result of organ transplantation 1

In developed countries, most cases are the result of bites from rabid bats, whereas in the developing world, rabid dogs are the main source of human infection 1

Clinical presentation

Involvement of the CNS by rabies can take two forms 1

  1. classic rabies encephalitis (80%)
  2. paralytic rabies (20%)
Classic rabies encephalitis

Encephalitis is by far the most common presentation of CNS involvement by rabies, accounting for 80% of cases. Symptoms are initially non-specific with general systemic symptoms, inspiratory spasms, autonomic dysfunction and altered mental status. With time classic symptoms and rabies encephalitis develop including: hydrophobia, aerophobia and hypersalivation 1

Paralytic rabies

Paralytic rabies is relatively uncommon accounting only for 20% of CNS infections in humans. 

Radiographic features


Treatment and prognosis

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