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  1. Medical Service

    Head & Neck Surgery

    The Brooklyn Hospital Center's Division of Head and Neck Surgery manages the diagnosis and surgical treatment of benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck. Staffed by a team of highly capable sur ...

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    Otolaryngology

    mon Conditions and Services Head and neck infections, cysts, lesions, masses all ... cer papillomas spasmodic dysphonia throat infections vocal fold nodules Head ...

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    Pediatric Surgery

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    Plastic Surgery

    years of specialty training in head and neck surgery and facial pla ... of the head and neck provides the facial plastic surgeon with a strong foc ...

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    Allergy & Immunology

    rrhea, headache, runny nose itching of the nose, mouth, throat, skin, or any ...

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    Neurology

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    Nuclear Medicine

    imaging equipment including one single-head and three dual-head gamma cam ...

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    Pediatric Genetics

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  9. Physician

    Heather MacAdam

    Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician The Brooklyn Hospital Center 121 DeKalb Avenue Brooklyn NY 11201 Specialty:  Pediatric Emergency Medicine Medical School:  University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Internship:  Jackson Memorial Hospital Residenc ...

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    Speech & Hearing

    rehabilitation for head and neck cancer patients Voice disorders (vocal nod ...

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    Cancer Care

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    Cared For — Body and Mind

    When I woke up in the middle of the night with a very painful "charley horse" in my calf after a trip to Washington DC, I thought nothing of it. I just figured I had strained it from the active day, no big deal. But the pain lingered on, intensi ...

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    Heather MacAdam

    Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician The Brooklyn Hospital Center 121 DeKalb Avenue Brooklyn NY 11201 Specialty:  Pediatric Emergency Medicine Medical School:  University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Internship:  Jackson Memorial Hospital Residenc ...

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Rabies

Definition

Rabies is a deadly viral infection that is mainly spread by infected animals.

Causes

Rabies is spread by infected saliva that enters the body through a bite or broken skin. The virus travels from the wound to the brain, where it causes swelling, or inflammation. This inflammation leads to symptoms of the disease. Most rabies deaths occur in children.

In the past, human cases in the United States usually resulted from a dog bite, but recently, more cases of human rabies have been linked to bats and raccoons. Although dog bites are a common cause of rabies in developing countries, there have been no reports of rabies caused by dog bites in the United States for a number of years due to widespread animal vaccination.

Other wild animals that can spread the rabies virus include:

Very rarely, rabies has been transmitted without an actual bite. This is believed to have been caused by infected saliva that has gotten into the air, usually in bat caves.

The United Kingdom had once completely eradicated rabies, but recently, rabies-infected bats have been found in Scotland.

Symptoms

The actual time between infection and when you get sick  ranges from 10 days - 7 years. This is called the incubation period. The average period is 3 - 12 weeks.

Symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

If an animal bites you, try to gather as much information about the animal as possible. Call your local animal control authorities to safely capture the animal. If rabies is suspected, the animal will be watched for signs of rabies.

A special test called immunofluorescence is used to look at the brain tissue after an animal is dead. This test can reveal whether or not the animal had rabies.

The doctor or nurse will examine you and look at the bite. The wound will be cleaned and treated as appropriate.

The same test used on animals can be done to check for rabies in humans, using a piece of skin from the neck. Doctors may also look for the rabies virus in your saliva or spinal fluid, although these tests are not as sensitive and may need to be repeated.

A spinal tap may be done to look for signs of the infection in your spinal fluid

Treatment

Clean the wound well with soap and water, and seek professional medical help. You'll need a doctor to thoroughly clean the wound and remove any foreign objects. Most of the time, stitches should not be used for animal bite wounds.

If there is any risk of rabies, you will be given a series of a preventive vaccine. This is generally given in 5 doses over 28 days.

Most patients also receive a treatment called human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG). This is given the day the bite occurred.

Call your doctor right away after an animal bite or after being exposed to animals such as bats, foxes, and skunks. They may carry rabies.

There is no known effective treatment for people with symptoms of a rabies infection.

Outlook (Prognosis)

It's possible to prevent rabies if immunization is given soon after the bite. To date, no one in the United States has developed rabies when given the vaccine promptly and appropriately.

Once the symptoms appear, the person rarely survives the disease, even with treatment. Death from respiratory failure usually occurs within 7 days after symptoms start.

Possible Complications

Untreated, rabies can lead to coma and death.

In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to the rabies vaccine.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if an animal bites you.

Prevention

To help prevent rabies:

References

Rupprecht CE, Briggs D, Brown CM, et al. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of a reduced (4-dose) vaccine schedule for postexposure prophylaxis to prevent human rabies: recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010 Mar 19;59(RR-2):1-9. Erratum in: MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010 Apr 30;59(16):493.

Bassin SL, Rupprecht CE, Bleck TP. Rhabdoviruses. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 163.



Review Date: 8/14/2012
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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    Orthopaedic Services

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    The Surgical Division of Podiatry offers quality, compassionate health care and state-of-the-art therapies to treat a wide range of foot and ankle disorders. Conditions Treated ingrown toenails ankle sprains ...

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  4. Physician

    Heather MacAdam

    Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician The Brooklyn Hospital Center 121 DeKalb Avenue Brooklyn NY 11201 Specialty:  Pediatric Emergency Medicine Medical School:  University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Internship:  Jackson Memorial Hospital Residenc ...

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    Healthy Back 2 School Fair!

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    Saturday in the Park! Annual health fair in Fort Greene Park helps us keep Brooklyn healthy.

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    Saturday In The Park-- TBHC Health Fair Emphasizes Wellness and Prevention

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    Building a Better Health Care Delivery System for Brooklyn Communities

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