Definition: Highly fatal infectious disease that may affect all species of warm-blooded animals, including humans; transmitted by the bite of infected animals including dogs, cats, skunks, wolves, foxes, raccoons, and bats, and caused by a neurotropic species of Lyssavirus, a member of the family Rhabdoviridae, that has tropism for the central nervous system and the salivary glands; inhalation infection possbile (aerosolized virus in bat caves, attics). The symptoms are characteristic of a profound disturbance of the nervous system, excitement, aggressiveness, and madness, followed by paralysis and death. In animals, clinical signs are variable, and sometimes drooling and tongue paralysis are the only signs. Transmission of the virus can occur before clinical signs are expressed. Characteristic cytoplasmic inclusion bodies (Negri bodies) found in many neurons aid rapid laboratory diagnosis.
[L. rage, fury, fr. rabio, to rave, to be mad]
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