Rabies is an infection that affects the brain and spine. Rabies is almost always fatal unless treated before symptoms appear.

The Nervous System
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Rabies is caused by a virus. It is found in infected, warm-blooded animals. Animals that commonly carry the virus include:

  • Bats
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes

The virus is in the saliva, brain, or nerve tissue of infected animals. Humans most often contract rabies through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. The virus may also be passed if infected tissue comes into contact with skin in the eyes, nose, or mouth.