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The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

Rabies turns Animals into Real-Life Zombies

Make sure to get your pets and yourself vaccinated against the Rabies virus. Its a bone-chilling disease, and you wouldnt want your loved ones to suffer.
Natalie Brown
Make sure to get your pets and yourself vaccinated against the Rabies virus. It’s a bone-chilling disease, and you wouldn’t want your loved ones to suffer.

Rabies; no viral disease in the world is more dangerous, no viral disease in the world is more horrifying, no viral disease in the world can slip by so easily that you don’t even know it’s there, until it’s too late.

You could be outside on the streets, in the woods or inside the comfort of your own home. An animal bites you, whether you realize it or not, and the disease is in your system. Rabies can lie dormant in your system for up to a year, but it usually takes a few months for the first symptoms to appear. Once they do, there’s no saving you.

If you act fast after suffering a bite from an animal and visit the doctor immediately, they may be able to take care of the disease before it spreads. However, if it’s already too late and the symptoms are present, there is one known method called the Milwaukee Protocol that could potentially save you. However, it is not worth the risk; it has only been used on 36 patients at the time of writing, and there are only five documented survivors, with only one making a full recovery.

How does rabies work? Rabies is a disease that travels through nerves, and once it makes contact with the victim’s brain and salivary glands, it begins to kill the victim and turn them into a zombie. It isn’t like the zombies portrayed in media who are mindless, brain-eating monsters who hold their arms out and groan- rabies is much more heartbreaking and horrifying than that. Once a victim begins to be affected, they may experience mild symptoms such as anxiety, itching, or headaches. Normal, everyday afflictions that a lot of people or animals may not think twice about.

“Then one day your back starts to ache… Or maybe you get a slight headache? At this point, you’re already dead. There is no cure.” Warns a Reddit user, u/ZeriMasterpeace. Zeri’s account has since been suspended for unknown reasons.

Then, a victim takes a sip of water- or tries to. They find the task uncomfortable and their body will even reject the water. It gets worse quickly, and often times a victim cannot even look at a glass or body of water without recoiling and, sometimes, convulsing. At this point, rabies is very clearly present. There are two different types of this virus- paralytic rabies, commonly known as “dumb” rabies, and furious rabies. Both are, unfortunately, almost always fatal.

Paralytic Rabies

This form of the virus accounts for almost 20% of humans affected, according to who.int. At this point, there isn’t much a victim can do except for react negatively to water and appear absent or zoned-out. Paralysis slowly overcomes them, and it is often a dreadfully long suffering before the victim slips into a coma. Then, no matter what, the victim will die.

“Time means nothing to you anymore.” ZeriMasterpeace solemnly remarks in the depths of their post, “Funny enough, you now know how the bat felt when he bit you.”

Furious Rabies

Furious rabies is the most commonly acknowledged form of the virus in media, from depictions of foxes or coyotes foaming at the maw and drooling on people’s doors to stories of warm-blooded beasts rushing at humans with nothing but rage behind their eyes. When a person or animal develops furious rabies, they begin to hallucinate, show signs of aggressive or excitable behavior, and some animals will attempt to bite. A lot of rabid animals have lost the ability to swallow and have no choice but to let their saliva run, which is where “foaming at the mouth” became a trait that many think of when they envision the rabies virus.
The behavior of animals that suffer from this completely exerts their energy and dehydrated body, and eventually, cardiac arrest puts the animal out of its misery.

“This… ‘rage,’ it’s moreso fear. Think of when a dog is anxious around strangers, he starts to growl at them.” ─ Anonymous

Across the world, people are susceptible to rabies, but some areas have a lower risk. For example, North America, Australia, and most of Europe have low risk levels due to advanced medical procedures in place to prevent the disease. Most of Asia and Africa have higher risks of catching rabies, and citizens are urged to take precautions when coming into contact with any wildlife, especially bats. Areas like Greenland, Japan, and many southeast islands have little to no risk at all. Even if you live in an area with a low risk of contracting rabies, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

If you suspect you may have rabies, here are some things to consider:
Have you come into contact with the saliva of a mammal within the last year?
Have you been displaying any of the symptoms as described above?
Are you already vaccinated against the rabies virus?

The rabies vaccination is considered to be extremely effective in killing the virus before it gets to your brain. “Studies indicate that if the vaccine is given immediately and appropriately to someone who was bitten by a rabid animal, it is 100 percent effective,” claims chop.edu, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In the United States, you get post-exposure treatment after you’ve been bit by an animal; especially if you can’t identify where the bite came from, or if the animal died shortly after biting you.

It’s not just any animal, however. The rabies virus can only affect mammals, so animals like birds or reptiles cannot harbor the virus. This means, you cannot contract rabies from them; only from mammals. Though, some mammals are more likely to carry the disease, and some rarely ever carry it. Possums, for example, as well as rodents, rabbits, and hares, almost never carry rabies. Researchers, at this point in time, are unsure of why this is.
Meanwhile, dogs- yes, your beloved best friends– are responsible for most cases of rabies in humans worldwide, with wild bats, foxes and skunks coming up as close seconds.

ZeriMasterpeace approaches the idea of solving the problem by extermination: “The virus can survive in a corpse for years. You could kill every rabid animal on the planet today, and if two years from now, some moise, preserved, rotten hunk of used-to-be brain gets eaten by an animal, it starts all over.”
They go on to say that there isn’t much we can do about rabies. However, there are things we can do to all keep ourselves safe and away from the virus. Keep yourself and your pets vaccinated against rabies, and don’t approach any wild animal, especially if it’s behaving oddly.

Contact your local hospital for post-exposure treatment immediately if you or a loved one has been bitten by a mammal recently.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Brown, Staff Writer
Natalie Brown, is a ninth grade student at Santa Rosa Academy. She is a staff member of The Lasso and is amazing at digital art and physical art. She loves to write about anything she is interested in. She is also a kind and outstanding writer. Some of her interests include bugs and cats. She also has a cat named Boof -- Boof is a fat black cat and she is very loud, very needy, loves to cuddle her owner, and cry out when she is hungry. Natalie is into the paranormal and even has a club dedicated to the super natural/paranormal. Her club is called the Mystery Club which is very new, so show kindness and support!
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