The Infectious Path of the Rabies Virus

  1. The raccoon is bitten by a rabid animal.
  2. Rabies virus enters the raccoon through infected saliva.
  3. Rabies virus spreads through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain.
  4. The virus incubates in raccoon's body for approximately 3-12 weeks. The raccoon has no signs of illness during this time.
  5. When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly, passes to the salivary glands, and the raccoon begins to show signs of the disease.
  6. The infected animal usually dies within 7 days of becoming sick.51