Sep 02 , 2022
Rabies evokes images of a furious animal foaming at the lips. This unpleasant, sometimes fatal, and entirely avoidable disease can arise from contact with an infected animal.
Rabies is caused by a virus called rhabdovirus that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), namely the brain.
Domestic dogs, cats, and rabbits, as well as wild animals like skunks, raccoons, and bats, can transmit the virus to people through bites and scratches. To act quickly is what is vital for survival.
According to WHO, around 59,000 people worldwide die from rabies every year and rabid dog bite has been number one cause.
Symptoms Of Rabies
The incubation period is the time between the bite and the beginning of symptoms. According to the CDC, it normally takes 3 weeks to 3 months for a person to develop rabies symptoms after contracting the illness. According to the World Health Organization, incubation times can range from one week to one year (WHO).
Rabies symptoms begin with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscular weakness, and tingling. You may also experience burning at the location of the bite.
As the virus proceeds to target the CNS, two kinds of the illness might emerge: furious rabies and paralytic rabies.
Furious rabies causes hyperactivity and excitability, as well as erratic behaviour. Other symptoms include:
- excess salivation or foaming at the mouth
- problems swallowing
- fear of water
This kind of rabies takes longer to manifest. People infected with the virus gradually become paralysed, finally falling into a coma and dying. The WHO estimates that 20% of human rabies cases are paralysed.
How do people get rabies?
Animals infected with rabies spread the virus to other animals and people by scratching or salivating after being bitten. Any touch with the mucous membranes or an open wound, on the other hand, might transfer the virus.
This virus is thought to be transmitted only from animal to animal and from animal to human. Although human-to-human transmission of the virus is exceedingly rare, a few instances have been observed following corneal transplants. A bite from an unvaccinated stray dog is by far the most prevalent cause of rabies in humans.
After being bitten, the virus travels through the nerves to the brain. Because of the location of the initial damage, bites or scratches on the head and neck are considered to hasten brain and spinal cord involvement. As a result, if you've been bitten on the neck, you should seek medical attention right once.
Following a bite, the rabies virus travels to the brain via nerve cells. The virus replicates fast once inside the brain. This action produces severe inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in fast deterioration and death.
Animals that can spread rabies
Both wild and domesticated animals can spread the rabies virus. The following animals are the main sources of rabies infection in humans:
Rabies In Pakistan
In Pakistan, rabies is prevalent, with over 50,000 documented instances of dog bites and nearly 6000 deaths per year, resulting in massive economic losses. Rabies is the 11th most lethal infectious illness in the world, killing 55,000 people each year. With approximately 300,000 cases of dog bites per year, Pakistan has yet to decide a unified strategy to combat the lethal disease. There have been some programs to neuter the dogs and vaccinate them but the number of cases are yet to be controlled. The uncontrolled stray dogs population is the leading cause and mostly children under the age of 14 are victims.
Diagnosis Of Rabies
There is no test to diagnose rabies infection in its early stages. A doctor can use tests such as a blood, tissue, or saliva test to help identify whether you have the condition after symptoms appear. The direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test and a neck biopsy are two tissue tests.
Rabies Prevention Vaccination and Cure
It is uncommon for rabies to be cured after it has been contracted. After being exposed to the rabies virus, you might receive a series of injections to prevent illness.
The safest strategy to avoid infection is to get a rabies vaccination as soon as possible following an animal bite. The rabies vaccination is administered in five doses over the course of 14 days.
Doctors will clean your wound with soap and water, detergent, or iodine for at least 15 minutes. Then they'll give you a rabies immunoglobin shot and you'll begin the first of four rabies vaccination shots. This is referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis.
How To Prevent Rabies?
Rabies is a disease that is preventable. There are some easy precautions you may take to avoid contracting rabies:
- Vaccinate your pet animals.
- Prevent your pets from going outside.
- Animal control should be notified about stray animals.
- Avoid coming into contact with wild animals.
- Any signs of an infected animal should be reported to your local animal control or health department
Dr. Essa Laboratory & Diagnostic Centre has rabies vaccination available. Visit nearest branch or for more information call or whatsapp at UAN : +922 111 786 986.