Why is it advantageous for the rabies virus to make its victim “go mad?”
Rabies is a viral disease. It attacks the brain and the central nervous system. The virus belongs to the family Rhabdoviridae and the genus Lyssavirus. It is bullet shaped and when it enters the body it goes straight the spinal cord via the peripheral nervous system (Anderson, Frey, 2006). From here the virus is quickly sent up to the brain, where it starts replicating itself in the mind cells. During this process the brain cells swells then they are completely destroyed and the virus takes control of the victim’s body. The virus then travels from the brain through the efferent nerves to the salivary glands. Saliva is the main medium of transmission into a new host.
Once the rabies virus gets into the body, it travels through the nervous system into the brain and the symptoms soon start becoming evident (Rogers, 2011 pg 146). It is advantageous for the rabies virus to male its victims go mad because then the probability of spreading the infection increases and the virus can take control of more host. The rabies that makes victims go mad is commonly referred to as encephalitic. It causes the victim to foam at the mouth, with increased agitation and aggression. Also the victims often hallucinate. The jaws hung out causing the victim to howl at anyone who comes near them and wild animals run away from people. All the mentioned symptoms often appear at the acute stage.
In summary, rabies is a dangerous viral disease. It spreads first in the victim’s body taking control of the brain and the nervous system. The symptoms of rabies are not visible immediately but when they do they are always in the acute stage (Rogers, 2011 pg 146). There is no certain treatment for rabies but lives have been saved for some of the affected victims. Vaccines have also been introduced to minimize the infection or stop it when one comes into contact with the disease.
References
Anderson, Janet; Frey, Rebecca. “Rabies.” Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. 2006. Retrieved July 24, 2015 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3451601365.html
Rogers, K. (2011). Infectious diseases. New York : Britannica Educational Pub. in association with Rosen Educational Services.

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