The World’s Most Deadly Virus That Has No Cure

Device used to prevent a dog from biting to prevent the spread of rabies
Device used to prevent a dog from biting to prevent the spread of rabies

By the time you notice your symptoms, you’re as good as dead. There is no cure. This is the deadliest virus in the world: rabies. The way it kills you is anything but pleasant. But how does this all happen?

When you first are infected via an infected animal typically, you’ll be asymptomatic. You’ll feel normal, and think nothing is wrong. After some time, you may develop a fever, pain, discomfort or some more mild symptoms.

It’ll feel like the flu, but by that point it’s too late. You can only stop it while you’re asymptomatic. At this stage with the virus, death is imminent. Hence why rabies owns the near 100% mortality rate which is supported by research.

Bedridden rabies victim.

Emily Pieracci, a writer for the CDC mentions “Rabies virus infection, regardless of the variant or animal reservoir, is fatal in over 99% of cases, making it one of the world’s most deadly diseases. There is no treatment once signs or symptoms of the disease begin, and the disease is fatal in humans and animals within 1–2 weeks of symptom onset.”

After your initial symptoms, it becomes a living purgatory for the remainder of your lifespan. Symptoms may develop into hydrophobia, meaning you become afraid of water and attempting to drink fluids becomes horrific and panic inducing.

You may experience partial paralysis, and begin to hallucinate and become delirious. You may lose your memory, salivate excessively and become aggressive.

Anxiety will be ever present, as well as a state of confusion. You may experience nausea, vomiting, as well as seizures. Lastly, you’ll be experiencing brain death, meaning you lose brain functions, and die.

However, do people truly understand the lethality of this virus? A student from Golden Valley, Jose Ulloa, was asked for his understanding of the virus. Afterwards, the facts of the virus were presented to him and he replied, “I definitely didn’t know about the fact that when you get symptoms your treatment is irreversible.” Showing that some regular citizens likely recognize the virus as dangerous, but they’re not aware to the extent of how dangerous it really is.

Aggressive raccoon in the wild.

According to the Public Health County of Los Angeles “Bats are the main carrier of rabies in Southern California. Skunk variants of rabies are currently found in Santa Barbara County and Northern California. Bats, skunks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and even opossums are all considered potential sources of rabies, based on California and national rabies data.” These are the carriers of rabies within Southern California, and the main species to be cautious around.

Despite the dangers of the virus, there are precautions that can be taken to avoid infection all together. Such as getting the rabies vaccine, as well as going to a doctor immediately after any wild animal bite as a safety precaution to check for infection. Due to this, rabies actually kills very few Americans yearly.

The CDC mentions that “From 1960 to 2018, 127 human rabies cases were reported in the United States, with roughly a quarter resulting from dog bites received during international travel. Of the infections acquired in the United States, 70% were attributed to bat exposures.” Meaning very few people within the U.S get infected with rabies due to our precautions we have against the virus. Another reason for our low infection rate in California specifically is due to most pets being vaccinated against rabies. Getting the virus in Los Angeles is so rare in fact that there have only been two cases recorded in humans.

Despite how dangerous the virus is, as long as you take appropriate precautions it poses no problems for Americans. Even though the virus starts asymptomatic, if you have the vaccine and visit a doctor after a possible transmission of the virus, you have nothing to worry about. While the virus is rather horrific, taking care of yourself is preventing it all together.

 

About the Contributor
Ryan Urbina, Staff Writer
My name is Ryan Urbina, and I’m a senior at Golden Valley high school as well as a staff writer on the Community News Team for the Grizzly Gazette. Some extracurricular activities I'm a part of are CSF, literature club, chess club, Asian student union, business club, and mock trial. I’ve gotten a chess trophy in a tournament, and used to be a co-vice president in the SkillsUSA for a semester. My main passion, which I'd like to cover, is creative writing. Creative writing is my favorite form of expression, whether it be short stories or poems. I’m a large fan of both forms of creative writing, and it’s one of my true passions in life. I write to understand myself and my emotions, and I feel like that makes my style unique compared to others. Being a student journalist means a lot to me so I’m able to express my writing to a much larger audience, and I would enjoy building a portfolio of my work. I hope my writing can create a positive impact on this newspaper.