Rabies is mainly a disease of animals. Humans get rabies when they are bitten by infected animals - most commonly a dog, cat, monkey or bat. It is an acute disease that causes a potentially lethal inflammation of the spinal cord and the brain known as encephalomyelitis.
The statistic of rabies incidence of human and animal rabies cases occurred in 2014 and 2015. This resulted in three reported human fatalities due to rabies in 2014 and 15 human deaths from rabies in 2015, the report confirmed animal rabies cases increased to 529 in 2015
Rabies affects both domestic and wild animals and spread to people usually via saliva, bites and scratches of an infected animal. The transmission is usually through a bite wound, but the disease has been known to spread through a scratch or an existing open wound.
The incubation period (the period of time between exposure to a disease and the onset of clinical signs) for rabies can vary greatly. The typical incubation period is three to eight weeks but it can be as little as nine days or as long as several years in some rare cases. The incubation period depends on several factors, including the location of the entry wound, the severity of the wound and the animas immune system. In general, the farther the wound is from the brain, the longer the incubation period will be occurring.
Rabies has no symptoms right away. In Incubation period, Rabies can lay dormant in your body for 1 to 3 months. Symptoms will appear once the virus travels through your central nervous system and hits your brain.
The first symptom is fever. You might feel generally tired or weak. You may feel pain, tingling or burning at the site of the wound.
- The early signs of rabies typically include behavioral changes; the animal may appear aggressive or more friendly than normal.
- Animals develop hypersensitivity to light and sound. They may also have seizures or become vicious.
- The final stage of rabies is typified by paralysis of the nerves that control the head and throat — the animal will hyper-salivate and lose the ability to swallow. As the paralysis progresses, the animal eventually goes into respiratory failure and dies.
As the virus spreads through your central nervous system, you will developmore severe symptoms such as inability to sleep (insomnia), anxiety, confusion, being easily agitated, salivating more than usual and difficulty swallowing. Once these symptoms occur, rabies is almost always fatal.
The tips below might help you to prevent the risk of rabies
- Wash the wound right away with soap and water. That is the best way to lower your chances of infection.
- See a doctor as soon as possible. Treating the wound and decide whether you need a rabies vaccination. If you have been exposed to rabies in the past few months, your treating doctor likely run a number of tests (saliva, blood, skinand hair) to check for the rabies virus or antibodies.
- If your doctor suspects rabies, doctor may require to begin treatment with the rabies vaccine – postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).
The vaccine is always successful if it is given immediately after exposure.
You will get one dose of fast-acting rabies immune globulin, which will prevent you from getting infected by the virus (you will get four rabies vaccine shots over the next 14 days).
If you are pregnant, rabies shots are safe for you and your baby.
- Never pet a stray dog or cat
- If you see an animal acting strangely (it is aggressive or tries to bite you), call your local animal control
- Always keep your pets rabies vaccine up to date. Puppies and kittens should receive their first rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age. Pets must be vaccinated again in one year then a three-year rabies vaccine is generally administered during the rest of your pets life.
- If your pet bites a person or another animal, consult your veterinarian immediately.
- If your pet is bitten by another known domestic animal, consult your veterinarian immediately and ask the owner to provide proof of rabies vaccination.
- If your pet receives a suspected bite wound from an unknown animal or if your pet comes in direct contact with any wild animal, even if no wounds are evident, consult your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend a rabies booster.
- If you are scratched or bitten by any animal either wild or domestic, consult with your physician immediately.
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