The early symptoms of rabies often mimic the flu and may include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients may also experience anxiety, agitation, confusion, hyperactivity and difficulty swallowing. Excessive salivation, insomnia, hallucinations and partial paralysis may also occur.
Patients may initially experience discomfort, itching or prickling near the area where they were bitten, and other symptoms normally occur within several days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The acute period of rabies generally lasts from two to 10 days, and the illness is almost always fatal as soon as symptoms appear. As of 2015, fewer than 10 cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been documented. To prevent the disease, doctors inject the passive antibody through a rabies vaccine and an immune globulin injection.
Anyone who is bitten by an animal or who thinks they may have been bitten should consult a doctor to determine if treatment is necessary, according to Mayo Clinic. Those who travel to or live in developing countries with high instances of rabies have an increased risk of contracting the illness. Those who have wounds to the head, neck or hands or who pursue activities that put them in contact with wild animals are also at risk.