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What you need to know

Once symptoms are present, the disease is fatal, both in animals and in humans.


Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals (dogs, cats, foxes etc.). It is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans. 


With a mortality rate of almost 100% in humans and animals, rabies remains a global threat. 95% of fatal cases of rabies occur in Africa and Asia.


The virus is particularly present in the saliva and brain of infected animals, most often dogs. It is usually transmitted by the bite of a sick animal. 


The incubation period can vary from several days to several months. Symptoms may be non-specific at first and include lethargy, fever, vomiting and anorexia. Within a few days, ataxia, muscle weakness, brain dysfunction, difficulty breathing, excessive salivation, aggression and/or self-harm may appear. 

In Morocco

Despite the existence of a national control strategy, rabies continues to spread in the country. Approximately 400 cases of rabies are reported each year. In 9 cases out of 10, the person concerned was contaminated by a rabid dog, which remains the reservoir and the main vector of this disease.

Rabies is a deadly disease if not treated in time. Preventive treatment for human rabies is very effective if administered rapidly after contact with the carrier animal. Contamination of humans is exclusively by an animal in contact with saliva by biting, scratching, licking on excoriated skin or mucous membrane (eye, mouth).


The animal can become contagious 15 days before the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease and it remains so until its death. If the animal is alive and shows no symptoms after an observation period of 15 days from the date of exposure (bite or other exposure), it could not have transmitted rabies to the bitten person.

In case of a bite, a scratch or licked wound:

  • It is imperative to clean the wound with soap and water for 15 minutes, then rinse and apply an iodine or chlorine antiseptic to limit the risk of infection.

  • It is then necessary to consult a doctor who will decide on the need for a vaccinal anti-rabies treatment and the administration of specific anti-rabies immunoglobulins, in the absence of preventive vaccination.

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