Rabies is a vaccine preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries and territories. It is zoonotic(meaning it can be transferred from animals to humans)
40% of people bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age.
In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans. Bats, monkeys and wild dogs also transmit the virus. It is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.
Incubation period (timeline between infection and onset of symptoms) is typically 1-3months but may vary from 1week -1 year.
--People with furious rabies exhibit signs of hyperactivity, excitable behaviour, hydrophobia(fear of water) and sometimes aerophobia(fear of drafts or of fresh air). Death occurs after few days due to cardiorespiratory arrest.
--Paralytic rabies is often misdiagnosed, muscles gradually becomes paralyzed starting at bite or scratch site, a coma slowly develops and eventually death.
WHAT ARE YOU TO DO IF YOU HAVE A BITE
--Wash the site of the bite extensively with soap, water and antiseptic for about 15minutes
--visit the hospital where rabies vaccine is available
--The veterinary services should be notified, the biting animal identified and quarantined for observation.
--Vaccinate your dogs against rabies
--Avoid stray dogs and keep your pets from contact with them.
--Creating awareness on rabies and preventing dog bites
--Preventive Immunization :human rabies vaccines are recommended for high risk occupations such as lab workers handling live rabies, Animal handlers, veterinarians,travellers.
Thanks to Dr Tomi(DVM) for her contribution to this piece