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2.2.2 Why is laboratory confirmation needed to make rabies surveillance in humans reliable?

The diagnosis of rabies in humans may be complicated, because other diseases that affect the brain produce similar symptoms, therefore there is a risk that rabies can be misdiagnosed (read more here). Therefore, wherever possible, laboratory diagnosis is crucial (read and hear more on laboratory techniques here). Rabies diagnosis in humans is especially difficult in the early stages of disease when tests for rabies may not yet be positive. Specimens obtained for testing include saliva, serum, cerebral spinal fluid, and biopsied nerve tissue (For details see section 3.4). Detection of rabies virus-specific antibodies in the absence of evidence of exposure and clinical signs alone is not proof of an infection, as they could be evidence of immunological responses to previous vaccination attempts.


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[en]Version 1 Last updated December 2014[fr]Première version, dernière mise à jour Juin 2015