Rabies is a common disease spread from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases). The main underlying cause of such disease is the rabies virus that comes from the Lyssavirus genus. The virus is mostly found in common dogs. According to an estimate, more than 99& death from rabies happens due to dog-mediated rabies.
The main cause of spreading of this disease is through the saliva of animals infected with the virus. The virus enters into our body through infiltration of saliva with the virus into our body via an open wound. The chances of transmission are also from direct exposure to mucosal surfaces to the infected saliva of the animal. Bites are the common causes of rabies as well. The bites need immediate rabies dog bite first aid treatment.
The rabies manifestation is of two types, first is furious and second is paralytic. The former is common in humans as accounts for 80% of the total cases. Rabies is common in almost every continent except Antartica. It is endemic in Asia and Africa.
Rabies tends to affect more of poor and rural communities. It is also common in children and most of the deaths occur in non-urban areas. This is because in such areas, there is less awareness and illiteracy is more. This accounts for more exposure to such diseases. Prophylaxis is either limited or absent in such communities.
Rabies is a deadly disease. It is common to see the disease getting neglect in various countries. Various developing country neglect and underreport rabies in different areas. A good way or tips to prevent dog bites is to enhance reporting. Validating estimates and calculating accurate data can also help to a great extent.
Unlike many other diseases out there, rabies is not incurable. It infects totally vaccine-preventable. Various countries are making rabies vaccination and prevention a major part of their social initiatives. Such programmes often account for the significant reduction in cases which is a step forward towards eliminating the disease from the planet. The prevention programmes usually include vaccinating dogs on a large number. By covering as much as 70% of the entire dog population, there is a good chance of breakage of the cycle of transmission in dogs and then to humans.
Rabies is a disease with an incubation time of almost 2-3 months. However, this number may vary from 1 week to 1 year. The incubation time depends on various factors. These include virus entry. location, viral load, mode of transmission etc. Main rabies symptoms observed during the onset of rabies include:
- Unexplained tingling
Without treatment, the virus may spread to our central nervous system. It then leads to severe rabies symptoms such as fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
When the rabies virus infects a person, he may suffer from one of the two forms of the disease.
- The first one is the furious one. In this, there are signs such as excitable behavior, hyperactivity, fear of water (also called hydrophobia) and fear of fresh air (aerophobia). Eventually, a person may even have to sacrifice his life as the virus causes cardio-respiratory arrest.
- The second type is the Paralytic rabies and is a bit uncommon. Such rabies type shows less dramatic symptoms. The virus affects slowly causing the patient to suffer for a longer period of time as compared to the former one. In this type, muscles experience paralysis. The numbness starts at the point of location of the bite or scratch by the dog. The onset of such rabies results in a coma and death follows soon after. Medical examiners often misdiagnose paralytic form of rabies. This has spread an under-reporting error that causes more deaths in the various cases.
As a regular transmission, you can get the virus with a simple scratch or a bite of the infected animal. The transmission to humans from infected dogs accounts for 99% of the cases. Africa and Asia have the majority of rabies deaths in the whole world.
As a matter of fact, in America, bats have become the major source for rabies transmission. This signifies how bat rabies is becoming a major threat to this virus disease. Transmission can also be done with animals such as skunks, mongooses, raccoons, foxes, and various other carnivore species.
When you get in touch with the saliva of an infected person, you can get rabies. It can even be transmitted with the mucosa of the human or contact towards the fresh wounds. Rabies from one human to human is possible but has not been observed yet.
Prevention and cure
The first step of preventing rabies symptoms in humans is to eliminate rabies in organisms where the virus is active i.e. dogs. As you know that vaccination can easily avoid rabies and other related diseases. The initial step is to get vaccines for dogs. These are anti-rabies vaccines and are usually available easily in every country. This largely helps in avoiding deaths because of rabies. The need for PEP is also reduced after the dog bite if the dog has gone through the anti-rabies vaccination process.
The next step is to gather and distribute awareness against rabies and for rabies prevention. This is highly important, especially in children. Bite prevention is a useful factor that can avoid rabies in the first place. It can also reduce the incidents and people can stay away from financial medical expenses that they have to incur for the treatment after the bite. Increasing awareness also foresees control in various communities of people. Educating masses by professionals and medical teams can also be of great help. The government can initiate programs to educate people on responsible ownership of pets and ways to prevent bits. After this, they should spread awareness about immediate steps to practice immediately after the bite. When such programmes become a success at the community level, key messages are easily spread. This can prevent rabies to a great extent.
For pre-exposure, the vaccines exist in the market. These provide perfect immunization. Dog bite treatment injections are usually referred to people who are at high risk of getting rabies or are working at laboratories where they have to handle rabies viruses. People working for animal disease control and staff in such places are also at high risks of infection. Individuals who are at high risk of coming in direct contact with infected dogs should also avail vaccinations.
PEI is an important term when we talk about treatment for rabies. Doctors often recommend this treatment procedure for travelers who may become prone to rabies virus. PEP is also done in remote areas where travelers spend time in various places. People going for hiking or camping or mountain-climbing are also at high risk. Such individuals are immunized before getting the infection. This is to decrease their exposure to risks. The pre-exposure immunization is also done majorly in children residing in remote areas. As younger people play with puppies or dogs more, they are more prone to the risk of rabies than adults in such areas. They may also receive deadly bites or severe scratches.
Diagnosis is usually not helpful if you wish to detect rabies infection before the disease starts harming the body. For early diagnosis, the doctor may try to relate with symptoms of aerophobia or hydrophobia. As visible, the clinical diagnosis is not that easy in rabies. The disease can be detected with intra-vitamin and post mortem. This is usually done by high-level diagnosis techniques for viruses, viral antigens and nucleic acids in infected people.
PEP or Post-exposure prp[hylaxis is a treatment to be incorporated immediately after the bite. When exposed to the bit infection, you should follow certain steps to reduce the chance of rabies spreading in the body of the victim. This process helps to prevent the entry of the rabies virus into the central nervous system which can cause death. Various steps are part of the PEP process. These include:
- Properly wash the wound as soon as possible. Follow this with local treatment of the wound immediately
- Promptly go for a course of potent and anti-rabies vaccine. The vaccine should match the standards of WHO. anti-rabies injection is the first mode of medical help
- As the last stem, make sure that the doctor administer rabies immunoglobulin as indicated
Effective and prompt treatment can help reduce the harmful effects of exposure.