Spillover: Zika, Ebola & Beyond

Click and drag or use the buttons below to move the model.

The viral envelope (gray) and viral proteins (red) involved in binding to host cells are shown. The helical core is not visible.

Rabies Cross Section

A. RNA genome; B. Nucleoprotein; C. Polymerase; D. Phosphoprotein; E. Matrix protein; F. Lipid envelope; G. Glycoprotein

Rabies virus

  • Rhabdoviridae family
  • ~75-nm × 180-nm enveloped particles with a bullet-shaped core of helical symmetry
  • Linear, ss – RNA genome of ~12,000 bp
  • Infects humans, dogs, rodents, and other mammals
  • A vaccine is available

Show Relative Size

Rabies virus may infect a variety of hosts. The virus is most often transmitted to humans by infected dogs, but foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats may all carry the virus. Rabies virus causes neurological symptoms including aggression, which may lead to biting and transmission via saliva. Once symptoms occur in a human, the infection is fatal. Rabies infection is thought to occur worldwide; however, the vast majority of deaths take place in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.


Relative Sizes

Chart showing size comparison of different viruses.

The white line represents 100 nanometers (nm). For comparison, the width of a human hair is about 75,000 nm, so it would be 750 times as long!