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The Mysteries of Rabies

This article about rabies surprised me a little.
See, we know how to prevent rabies, but we have absolutely no idea how to cure it. In fact, we don't even really know how it kills people. Despite (and, perhaps, because of) its status as one of the first viruses to be tamed by a vaccine, rabies remains a little-understood disease.

What about all those stories you hear of someone being bitten by a rabid animal and having to get painful shots? I thought that was the cure, but it turns out those shots are actually a vaccine after the fact.
"You think about flu, that's a very quick virus. You develop symptoms in a couple of days. In a week, it's passed. But rabies incubation is very long," said Zhen Fu, DVM Ph.D., professor of pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. "It may be weeks or even months before you develop an active infection. So we have enough time after a bite to immunize with normal vaccine and bring up the immune system."

New treatments for vaccine show promise, but with few cases to study, the results are not conclusive. Maggie Koerth-Baker researched the disease after she found a bat in her living room. Link

The only real "new" treatment for rabies is the Milwaukee Protocol, and that hasn't been very successful at all :( But it's cured more than zero percent, so I guess it's always worth a try.
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This is so weird. I just started a series of rabies shots. There was a bat in my house over a week ago and something bit me on the leg the night before that. After speaking to the DNR and health dept they said I needed to get the shots as a precaution. They were not as bad as the "old school" treatment but I did have a reaction. I'm ok now. I got 8 shots the first day and then 3 more over 2 weeks. I've got just one more left. I don't hate bats. I wish we had taken the one we caught in for testing though. We let it go. Now we're thinking about hiring someone to get the bats out of our attic in the spring and putting up a bat house outside for them. We can't see any up there now. Our home inspector didn't and neither did the workers who have been up there installing stuff. It was a big brown bat, the biggest I've seen. It didn't appear to be sick either.
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Shae, I hadn't ever heard of that. They DNR guy sounded like they'd be more concerned if the bat acted strangly or appeared sick. Bats aren't likely to carry rabies. I think about 5 % of the bats they test are positive and they estimate that only about 1/2 of 1% of bats have it. Supposedly the ones that end up in homes are not behaving "normally" and are mor likely to be rabid. Incidence of rabid bats has been on the rise in my area of MI. One guy from MI died of rabies this year. He had a bat in his home but did not think he was bitten. They hadn't had a death here in 20 years. My county had 3 bats test positive this year. It's not real likely that the bat in my home was rabid but who wants to take a chance. Especially since I had a bite.

I just researched it and bats are not unaffected carriers of rabies. They can develope a immune response.
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I was bitten by a stray cat (one of the top carriers, next to raccoons, in my area at least) and so I went to the hospital to get the wound cleaned and precautionary antibiotics, but ended up with the rabies vaccine series, too. I was given several immunoglobulin (I haven't the slightest how to spell that) injections near the wound sites to help prevent the spread of anything until I could actually start the vaccine series the next day, since there is a shortage of the vaccine at the moment, and it has to be overnighted and approved by DNR. I then received around 7 shots over the next month, all of them in my arm.

Incidentally, don't get exposed to rabies if you don't have insurance. without it, this would have cost me around $6,000.
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People can get a rabies vaccine, as a preventative measure, say, if your job is working with animals.
(Or, if you live with ^monia^!)
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