December 22 21:26 2019 Print This Article

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.  Each year, it kills more than 50,000 people and millions of animals around the world.In non-vaccinated humans, rabies is almost invariably fatal after neurological symptoms have developed, but prompt post-exposure vaccination may prevent the virus from progressing. Most animals can be infected by the virus and can transmit the disease to man. Infected bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, dogs or cats provide the greatest risk to humans. In Europe the virus is mainly carried by the fox.

The first symptoms of rabies are usually non-specific and suggest involvement of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and/or central nervous systems. The virus is transmitted in saliva from the bite of an infected animal. The virus will begin shedding in saliva a short time before clinical signs develop, usually less than 10 days. Man is occasionally infected, and once infection is established in the CNS, the outcome is almost invariably fatal.

Rabies is found on all continents except Antarctica. Rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing encephalopathy and ultimately death. In the United States, rabies has been reported in every state except Hawaii. The period between infection and the first flu -like symptoms is normally three to twelve weeks, but can be as long as two years. It is one of the oldest and most feared diseases reported in medical literature. Incidence of rabies is widespread throughout the world.

Two imported cases of rabies occurred in 2001, one was acquired in Nigeria and the other in the Philippines. The main route of transmission is the bites of rabid dogs. Most of the children who die from rabies were not treated or did not receive adequate post-exposure treatment. If you recognize the warning signs of a rabies infection early and get medical help, your child can make a full recovery. If someone gets bitten by an animal that has rabies, quick treatment can prevent the illness.

Causes of Rabies

The comman causes of Rabies include the following:

  • Rabies is caused by a virus that belongs to the family Rhabdoviridae.
  • Most often rabies transmission occurs through the bite of a rabid animal.
  • The contact must allow for the transmission of infected material, which will involve exposure to the saliva of the infected animal usually through a bite or scratch.
  • The virus may also be transmitted if infected tissue comes into contact with human mucous membranes, such as in the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • When an infected animal bites another animal, the virus in its saliva may flow into the second animal’s bloodstream. The second animal becomes infected with the virus.
  • People whose work involves frequent contact with wildlife or domestic animals that are not immunized are at a greater risk for getting rabies.

Symptoms of Rabies

Some sign and symptoms related to Rabies are as follows:

  • Animals infected with rabies may appear sick, crazed, or vicious. This is the origin of the phrase “mad dog.” However, animals infected with rabies may also appear overly friendly, docile, or confused.
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing.
  • Numbness.
  • General malaise.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Excessive salivation (hypersalivation).
  • Slight or partial paralysis.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Insomnia.
  • Tingling around the wound.

Treatment of Rabies

Here is list of the methods for treating Rabies:

  • If you live in the United States and receive treatment for rabies after an animal bite, treatment – called post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • Wash the wound immediately with plenty of soap and water to remove saliva; this is the most important first step you can take in preventing rabies.
  • A one-time injection of human rabies immune globulin (or HRIG), which is a substance that provides rapid, short-term protection against rabies.
  • Injection of the first of a series of vaccine doses to provide protection against rabies after an exposure.
  • A series of injections with a vaccine help your immune system increase its own response against the rabies virus.
  • Your doctor may give you a tetanus shot and antibiotics, to prevent infection, and will file a complete report on the animal that bit you.