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What feature of rabies pathophysiology causes hydrophobia? Why is hydrophobia unique to this one particular type of viral infection?

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Related question –  Rory M Apr 22 at 13:29

1 Answer 1

Rabies causes hydrophobia in the encephalitic stage which means when it affects the brain and causes swelling and inflammation of multiple areas of the brain. Hence, it affects the complex swallowing areas in the brain. Initially into the course of the disease, the patient has involuntary contractions of neck muscles when he drinks water. At later stages of disease, the patient starts contracting his muscles even at the thought of water. Rabies virus is a neurotropic virus which means that it travels through nerves because of its preference to attach to acetylcholine receptors in the neurons. That is how the virus spreads from the bite site to the brain(via the nerves).

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Why hydrophobia specifically and consistently? Most diseases causing encephalitis or other pathology to the brain has very varied clinical spectra. –  AndroidPenguin Apr 22 at 21:34
    
Yes why specifically –  rhill45 Apr 23 at 16:42
    
This is a good answer above but would like to let this question sit a little longer. What are the swallowing areas of the brain etc... –  rhill45 Apr 23 at 16:44
    
The swallowing areas of the brain are located in temporal cortex, pons and medulla oblongata –  speedoheck Apr 23 at 17:57
    
Explains problem swallowing, but hydrophobia? –  rhill45 Apr 29 at 23:30

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