Rabies is an acute zoonotic viral disease, transmitted through contact (mainly bites and scratches) with infected animals, both domestic and wild. Rabies is invariably fatal in the absence of adequate post-exposure prophylaxis.


Paresis or paralysis, delirium and convulsions.

Infectious Agents

The infectious agent is Rabies virus, a rhabdovirus of the genus Lyssavirus.

Mode of transmission

Rabies is usually transmitted by the bite of an infected mammalian species (e.g. dog, cat, fox or bat). The bites or scratches introduce virus-laden saliva into the human body.

No human-to-human transmission of rabies has been documented


The most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people is by eliminating rabies in dogs through animal vaccinations


  1. Surveillance report on human rabies. Quarterly Epidemiological Bulletin, Epidemiology Unit, 2009, Vol. 50, fourth quarter. Sri Lanka, Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Welfare (Quarterly Epidemiological Report).
  2. WHO Guide for rabies pre and post-exposure prophylaxis in humans (revised June 2010). Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), 2010 (pep-prophylaxis-guideline-15-12-2014.pdf (who.int)).