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What is rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nerves and brain. The virus is commonly transmitted by a bite for an infected animal. If the bitten person is treated timeously, rabies can be prevented, however, if untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.
Symptoms of rabies in humans
Humans infected with rabies usually don’t show any symptoms for one to three months post infection, but this incubation period can extend to one year in exceptional circumstances. Once the symptoms of rabies appear in a human, it is nearly always fatal.
In the initial stages, rabies shares symptoms with many other viral illnesses. The area around the site of the bit may be tingling, twitching, itchy or painful and the person have a fever, headache and a vague feeling of unwellness and tiredness, but nothing terribly serious. The stage continues of approximately ten days.
Once the virus reaches the brain, the acute phase starts which symptoms like insomnia, hallucinations, fear of water and difficulty swallowing, confusion, convulsions, muscle spasms, anxiety and excitation presenting themselves. About eighty percent of rabies patients develop furious rabies and become hyperactive and excitable, displaying erratic behaviour, agitation and excess salivation.
In time, these symptoms give way to a coma, heart or lung failure and death.
Rabies and South Africa
Rabies is most commonly spread by dogs. Dog rabies has been eliminated in many countries in the world, including the USA and Mexico, but not in South Africa.
The South African National Travel Health Network states that there were, on average, thirteen human rabies infections in South Africa per year for the ten-years to 2017. According to newspaper articles, 2018 and 2019 had nine reported cases each.
As a result of these statistics, I set my story in my home country of South Africa.
Rabies and my story, Missed Signs
Ever since I read Cujo by Stephen King as a young girl, the idea of rabies has both fascinated and terrified me.
My story, Missed Signs, in the anthology Whispers of the past, was inspired by the idea of a human contracting rabies and developing furious rabies and what that could mean for the people around that person. The secondary underlying threat was what if that person also suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and already had massive stress and anxiety disorders as a result.
From these two ideas I wrote my story which is set in the Knysna forest in South Africa, in a remote cottage with no close neighbours or other types of assistance.
A paranormal anthology with nine stories from six authors, including the winning story in the 2019 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest, A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known, by Jeff Bowles.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.
I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
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