Rabies, caused by a virus, is a disease transmitted from animals to humans. It is primarily transmitted from rabid animal’s saliva and invades the nervous system of the mammals.
In India, dogs are responsible for 97% of human rabies, followed by other rabid animals.
What are the signs of rabies in humans?
- In 80% cases, pain and itching at the site of the bite wound.
- Fear of water(Hydrophobia), fear of air(Aerophobia)
- Intolerance to noise and flashy lights
- Fever, malaise and headache lasting for 2-3 days
- Anger or irritability
- Fear of death
Post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is an immediate treatment of a victim after rabies exposure.
Post-exposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) is mandatory if you are bitten by any rabid animal or suspect any animal to be infected by rabies. This prevents the virus from entering into the central nervous system.
- Washing the wound or the scratch with soap and water for 15 minutes or with just water extensively.
- Administration of a full PEP course is recommended, depending upon the severity of contact.
- Administration of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG), if recommended by the healthcare professional.
In a rabies endemic country like India, every animal bite is suspected as a potential rabid animal bite. Since it is 100% fatal, it should be treated as an emergency.
Who needs Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis?
PrEP, is administered before an exposure to rabies. It is recommended for people who are at a high risk of developing rabies, say, the animal rescuers, animal healthcare professionals and veterinarians.
What are the dietary restrictions during anti-rabies vaccination?
There are no dietary restrictions during anti-rabies vaccination. However, alcohol should be prohibited and a healthy diet is recommended.
Is there any specific treatment for rabies?
There is no reliable treatment once rabies develops. Palliative care must focus on keeping the patient as comfortable as possible with an emphasis of reducing pain, restlessness and fear. Prefer a quieter room with little light. Medical care must be opted for in case of excessive aggression, hallucinations, etc.
Note: The caretaker should take proper precautions like, washing of hands and wearing gloves.
28th September, 14th World Rabies Day.
Theme- “End Rabies: collaborate, vaccinate”
Through this theme, the GARC aims at giving a reminder that we have 10 years to end human fatalities by dog rabies, by collaborating at international, national and local levels. It’s also important in this respect to vaccinate dogs to prevent rabies at the source.
Over to you:
Rabies elimination requires more awareness to be raised. Through, there is not much that can be done once infected by the rabies, one can definitely take preventive measures. On this World Rabies Day, do your bit to let the knowledge spread to the masses.