Why does rabies make sick people afraid of water?
Rabies in humans is often referred to as “hydrophobicity” because it causes a fear of water in patients.
When infected, the person will feel a violent constriction in the throat when trying to swallow. Even the thought of swallowing water can cause spasms and discomfort. This is the main cause of the patient’s fear of water. If the infected animal can swallow saliva easily, it will reduce the risk of spreading the virus to a new host.
Factors Affecting the Development of Rabies
Factors that influence the development of rabies infection are:
- Contact type
- Severity of the bite
- Amount of rabies virus entering the body
- Kind of animal bite
- Patient’s immune status
- Bitten area
Wounds to the head and neck, as well as those in nerve-ending areas such as fingers, typically have a shorter incubation period of rabies due to the shorter distance the virus enters and the nerve tissue.
The incubation period of rabies usually lasts from a few days to several months, while the time from onset of illness to death ranges from 1 to 7 days.
Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here.