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Full text of "Pathogenic Bacteria"

HYDROPHOBIA, OR RABIES.               307

As the incubation-period comes to an end there is an
observable alteration in the wound, which becomes red-
dened, sometimes may suppurate a little, and is painful.
The victim, if a man, is much alarmed and has a sensa-
tion of horrible dread. The period of dread passes into
one of excitement, which in many cases amounts to a
wild delirium and ends in a final stage of convulsion and
palsy. The convulsions are tonic, rarely clonic, and
subsequently cause death by interfering with the respira-
tion, as do those of tetanus and strychnia.

During the convulsive period much difficulty is experi-
enced in swallowing liquids, and it is supposed that the
popular term (' hydrophobia'' arose from the reluctance
of the diseased to take water because of the inconveni-
ence and occasional spasms which the attempt causes.

This description, brief and imperfect as it is, will
illustrate the parallelism existing between hydrophobia
and tetanus. In the latter we observe the. entrance of
infectious material through a wound, which, like the
bite in hydrophobia, sometimes heals, but often suppu-
rates a little. We see in both affections an incubation-
period of varying duration, though in hydrophobia it is
much longer than in tetanus, and convulsions of tonic
character causing death by asphyxia.

It is maintained .by some that the stage of excitement
argues against the specific nature of the disease, but
these subjective symptoms are like the mental con-
dition of tuberculosis, which leads the patient to make a
hopeful prognosis of his case, and the mental condition
of anthrax, in which it is stated that no matter how dan-
gerous his condition the patient is seldom much alarmed
about it.

Pasteur and his co-workers found that in animals that
die of rabies the salivary glands, the pancreas, and the
nervous system contain the infection, and are more
appropriate for experimental purposes than the saliva,
which is invariably contaminated with accidental patho-
genic bacteria.