Thursday, April 21, 2016

R is for . . .

Image Source: Andy Wagstaffe

Rabies. According to Wikipedia, rabies is a deadly viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain. It's old, like 2000 B.C. old.

Fever and tingling at the site of exposure (where the animal bit you) are early symptoms. Later comes violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness (kind of like binge-drinking, maybe?) The time from exposure to symptoms can vary from days to months. In the U.S., bats are more likely to infect a person with rabies than a dog.

Image source: Andrew Codrington

The fear of water, or hydrophobia, seems especially weird to me. But get this. Rabies causes saliva production to go into overdrive while at the same time, causing excruciatingly pain in the muscles of the throat and larynx if the sick animal tries to drink. Since the sick animal can't wash away the virus by drinking, the virus builds up in the saliva. Now the virus has an even better chance of being spread when the sick animal bites someone. Talk about diabolical!

Speaking of diabolical, remember Cujo? That's the title of a movie based on a book by Stephen King where a mother and her son are trapped in their hot, tiny car by a rabid St. Bernard. Now imagine being attacked by a rabid human, and not only that, the virus has turned their saliva a hideous indigo color. Now you've got the premise for Sandra Coxes' Rainers, a terrifying short story in the anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here.

Unlike Sandra's world, there is treatment for rabies. Remember the old 27 shots in the stomach routine? That's being phased out by less shots into the arm. There's also a new treatment, the Milwaukee Protocol, in which the patient is put into a coma to save the brain from damage and give the body's immune system time to fight the virus.

Have you read Cujo or seen the movie? Are you now more afraid of bats than barking dogs?

Sandra is doing an amazing catalogue of cats for the A to Z challenge and her book, Makita, available for 99 cents on Amazon this week.


  1. Cujo was my first thought when I saw this post. Both the book and the movie terrified me.

  2. Finny. I immediately thought of Cujo and also of that scene in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD where Atticus shoots the rabid dog.

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  3. I'm very involved in the layperson pro-science advocacy community, and it's jaw-dropping to see these overprivileged people shrugging off rabies as no big deal and insisting they don't need to vaccinate their pets against it.

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  4. i didn't know you could catch rabies from bats. As for the anthology Parallels, I am looking forward to its debut. It looks like there are a lot of great stories in the anthology.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

  5. The details of rabies are horrible to know. It's such a weird disease that has been around for almost forever. I never saw Cujo, but I know its premise. Scary stuff.

  6. Rabies is absolutely terrifying. I've watched a few videos of what it does to people and it's simply chilling!

  7. Rabies sure is scary! I definitely would not want to encounter anything that was rabid--dog, bat, or human!

  8. Yes, I instantly think of Cujo when I hear the word rabies!

  9. I've not read Cujo, but rabies is a bad disease.

  10. I've not read Cujo. Don't think I will. I've always been afraid of bats. Rabies sound horrible!

  11. Never heard of Cujo, but then we dont have rabies in Britain although they do reckon it is just a matter of time until it arrives. I think we have witches and zombies but they are generally friendly, well the ones around here are.

    AH you see the advantage of doing all your own artwork no need to reference the image source although I will say drawing all my own pictures is rather hard work and probably silly

    1. Oooooooo have you noticed I tend to write longer comments than most folk which is why I only comment on blogs where someone has commented on my own. Until lots of folk comment then I will hide under the sofa.

  12. Horrific disease. My father went through the shots when he was a youngster.
    Cujo is a scary book, to take a loving pet and turn him into a beast. Cringe! But I fear a wild dog more than a bat and we have bats that fly around the neighborhood at night! You seldom see a dog off its leash.

  13. Wow! I never realized rabies has been around that long!

  14. Cujo is one I have not seen or read - the premise just doesn't appeal :) I've never been afraid of dogs or bats, but that's because the UK was declared rabies free in 1922 - although there is a new rabies like virus in bats that has caused one death in 2002.
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  15. Thanks for this post, Tamara. You certainly captured the fear factor in rabies. Where I live, the animals most prone to them are the raccoons, poor things.

  16. Cujo scared the *&$#&^ out of me when I was a kid.



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