As a rule, the first symptoms of rabies appear between 1 and 3 months after contagion. Once the disease is declared, the typical evolution of rabies passes through 3 stages characterized by different symptoms :
1) In the precursor stage of rabies, the following symptoms typically develop:
- unusual pains such as headaches and loss of appetite,
- burning and itching sensations, increased bite sensitivity,
- often fever.
2) The acute neurological phase of rabies is characterized by the following symptoms:
- anxiety and agitation,
- difficulty swallowing, cramping of the throat muscles, caused by swallowing - and, consequently, the fear of drinking.
- increased salivation.
- a tendency to drool to avoid swallowing,
- a changing mood (between aggressiveness and depression),
- and sometimes also hydrophobia - the visual or acoustic perception of water can cause some agitation in the patient.
3) Coma, the last stage of rabies, is manifested by the following symptoms:
- a decrease in cramps and agitation,
- progressive paralysis,
- death (often by respiratory arrest).
Without immediate action, the rabies virus inevitably leads to death. If the affected person does not receive adequate care, death can occur within 7 days of the onset of the first symptoms of rabies.