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Bats are the primary source of rabies deaths in the United States; only about two to three people die of rabies each year on average. But thousands of people get shots to prevent rabies after exposure to cats, dogs and other rabid animals.
If any people on the plane were infected, they wouldn't know it yet because it generally takes more than two months for rabies to fully develop. The early symptoms are unremarkable -- fever, headache and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more telling symptoms appear like insomnia, anxiety, confusion, paralysis, hallucinations, agitation, an increase in salivation and a fear of water.
Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the CDC's rabies program, said agency officials don't recall any similar such investigation in the past.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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