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Rabies Virus
My name is rabies and I come from the Rhabdoviridae family. We're known for being RNA
viruses of vertebrates, insects, and plants. Unlike some of my relatives I stick to infecting mammals.
My rise to stardom came when Fred Gipson wrote about me in his book “Old Yeller”, which
was made into a Disney movie. I have become so popular that people report whenever I am seen with
someone new. I usually strike up a relationship with a person after they have been bitten by a wild
animal such as a bat, skunk, raccoon, or fox. Less than 10% of my relationships begin when a person is
bit by a domestic animal like a cat or dog. It is also possible, though quite rare, for a person to meet me
when infectious material from a rabid animal gets into a person's eye, nose, mouth, or wound.
I have had a difficult time finding true love. Some of my exes have called me a “viral disease”
and they have accused me of affecting their central nervous system. The people I have been with report
flu-like symptoms such as malaise, fever, or headaches the first few days they are with me. As the
relationship progresses people begin to show signs of cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion,
agitation, progressing to delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, hydrophobia, and insomnia. If
my significant other has not gotten help before now I usually end up killing them.
A century ago I used to kill about 100 people a year, but now I kill an average of one to two
people a year. Animal control and vaccination, along with human rabies vaccines and immunoglobins,
are responsible for the decrease in the number of deaths I cause. Most of the recent human cases that I
have been associated with were caused when I infected a bat, which then bit a human.
My exes have reported to the media that it is best to seek medical attention as quickly as
possible after an encounter with me. Doctors can give them postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), which
consists of one dose of immune globulin and five doses of rabies vaccine over a 28-day period.
Someone can be given preexposure prophylaxis when they are traveling to a country where they have a
higher chance of an encounter with me or where medical care may be difficult to obtain.