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A woman who told her doctor she had a sudden, unbelievable increase in her sex drive died four days later of rabies.

The 28-year-old, who lived in India, complained that she felt constantly aroused, sometimes with no stimulation at all. Her confounded physician referred her to the Sri Gokulam Hospital and Research Institute in Salem, Tamil Nadu.

They discovered that a small bite from a puppy two months earlier caused the disease.

The fear of water caused by paralysis of the swallowing muscles is widely known as a symptom of rabies. But it can also cause hypersexuality, a result of inflammation of the brain. Peter Costa, the communications director for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, said that by the time the disease reaches that stage it is incurable. He said: ‘If you’ve been bitten or suspect you’ve been licked or scratched by an infected animal, you should seek treatment within 24 hours.’

Pet vaccination programmes have been largely successful in staving off the disease in the U.S. But around the world between 55,000 and 70,000 people die of rabies each year, Mr Costa told LiveScience. Most of the deaths are in children under age 15 in areas where vaccinations are lacking. Mr Costa said: ‘Dogs are responsible for more than 99 per cent of human rabies cases.’

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