Rabies has been used in fiction a bunch of times. Stephen King famously used Rabies to portray a Saint Bernard who attacks humans and more importantly traps a mother and her son in a small car in “Cujo.” Other variations of the Rabies Virus have been used in “I Am Legend” the Richard Matheson novel about a modified vampire plague. At least in the movie they talked about the origin of the vampire virus happened when they used the Rabies Virus and morphed it to fight Cancer.
The Rabies virus has also been used a bunch of times in the zombie world to explain how certain aggressive zombies started. It’s a pretty cool way of going about creating the “runner” zombies and the 28 Days Later type of mad-dog human cannibals.
But would the Rabies virus cause something like this in real life? No. Humans have contracted Rabies since the virus has been around. It usually stems from an infected animal bite. Here is what Wiki has to say about contracting the virus:
“The disease is spread to humans from another animal, commonly by a bite or scratch. Infected saliva that comes into contact with any mucous membrane is also a risk. Globally most cases are the result of a dog bite, with this being the cause in more than 90% of cases in countries where dogs commonly have rabies. In the Americas, less than 5% of cases are from dogs, with bats being the most common cause. Rodents are very rarely infected. The rabies virus travels to the brain by following the peripheral nerves. The disease can also be diagnosed after the start of symptoms.”
“Some of the symptoms include (again from Wiki): The period between infection and the first flu-like symptoms is typically 2 to 12 weeks. Incubation periods as short as four days and longer than six years have been documented, depending on the location and severity of the inoculating wound and the amount of virus introduced. Symptoms may soon expand to slight or partial paralysis,anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, and hallucinations, progressing to delirium. The patient may suffer hydrophobia.
Death almost invariably results 2 to 10 days after first symptoms. Survival is rare once symptoms have presented, even with the administration of proper and intensive care.Jeanna Giese, who in 2005 was the first patient treated with the Milwaukee protocol, became the first person ever recorded to have survived rabies without receiving successful post-exposure prophylaxis. An intention-to-treat analysis has since found this protocol has a survival rate of about 8%.”
So while it’s a nasty thing to catch and a cool idea to run with for fiction it is curable and I don’t think it would cause a zombie outbreak. In fact recent news has said that one of my favorite writers Edgar Allen Poe may have died from rabies. Poe may have had Rabies
Horror Question of the Day: If you were stuck on a deserted island and you were starving to death… What body part would you eat off of your friends corpse first?
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