Virus Characteristics
Clinical Signs
Treatment and Prevention
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Rabies virus is a rhabdovirus (genus Lyssavirus) that can cause fatal infection in all warm-blooded mammals.  The virus primarily attacks the nervous system and salivary glands, and it is shed in saliva. The rabies virus is transmitted in the saliva from the bite of an infected animal.  For both humans and domestic animals, the usual source is the bite of a rabid domestic animal or wild animal, especially reservoir species such as racoons, bats, foxes, or coyotes.  Some of these wild animals can shed rabies virus for prolonged periods in their saliva without evidence of clinical signs.  Rabies has public health importance as a zoonotic infection that causes highly fatal encephalitis in humans.  Rabies virus is potentially very liable outside the host, and it is readily inactivated by many disinfectants.