Rabies is a viral disease that will directly affects the nervous system of mammals. In the last stage the virus moves from brain to salivary glands and saliva. Then the virus from therecan be transmitted through a contact or bite with mucous membranes (mouth, eyes and nose).It is fatal once symptoms occur.
Which are the species are the major carriers of Rabies:
Rabies is a disease of wild carnivores but it can have an affect on all the mammals. Including humans also. Different species have become the main carriers in different areas of the world: dogs in Africa, Africa, Latin America and Middle East.
How it is transmitted:
Rabies is caused by rhabdo virus—a large enveloped bullet-shaped DNA virus. It is very sensitive to light, heat, detergents and disinfectants and cannot survive for long outside the body of an infected animal.
The virus is carried in the saliva of an infected animal. It cannot penetrate intact skin. There are many ways by which it can be transmitted by animals when they lick each other allows saliva of an infected animal to come in contact with an open wound.
The virus once come in contact multiplies at the site of the bite, invades nerve fibres, and travel to the brain. The incubation period (the time between the bite and the onset of symptoms) is related to the distance of the wound from the head and neck: the nearer the head, the shorter the incubation. Bites to the head and neck carries the highest risk. Growth of the virus in the brain can cause severe nervous degeneration and eventually death. The virus basically spread from the brain to other nerves to organs including the salivary glands, where the virus is excreted in the saliva. Animal contact by itself—such as being in the vicinity of a rabies animal, handling a rabies animal or petting or coming into contact with the blood or urine of the rabies animal – doesn’t usually constitute exposure and therefore, doesn’t usually require post-exposure rabies treatment.
Exposure of a human to a rabies animal doesn’t always result in rabies. If prevention treatment is obtained promptly following a rabies exposure, most of the rabies cases will be prevented. All animals bites should be evaluated by the professional doctor/health to determine if the treatment us necessary.
Who can spread Rabies?
The Rabies virus affect the mammals. But it is most common among cats, cows, horses, dogs, foxes, bats and raccoons, who have common a relatively long latency interval between exposure and the symptoms time appear. Transmission usually occurs while the animal carrying the disease is in the latent phase (before the symptoms appear).
How can people be protected against Rabies?
The best way to get protection against the rabies is to vaccinate their pets and any street cat or dog living near their homes, and in cities authorities to conduct mass vaccination campaigns for street dogs and cats.
Taking the correct measures by vaccinating the animals instead of killing animals which has never been effective in preventing the spread of rabies.
Is Rabies Curable?
There is no cure once the symptoms of rabies appear. It is then inevitably fatal. But however, long incubation period allow post-exposure therapy to be effective if done correctly.
What are the signs and symptoms of rabies in animals?
Symptoms of rabies in animals may include one or more of the following signs:
Vicious behaviour or attack, biting; restlessness; uncharacteristic aggression ; excessive salivation, excitability; aversion to water (Where the name “hydrophobia” comes from); inability to swallow or drink; pupils; coordination or gait irregularities; paralysis; convulsions; and eventually death. Almost within 12 days.
Some rabies animals don’t exhibit the rabies symptoms. These are generally referred to as dumb Rabies. These animals may display other symptoms of illness which may include an avoidance of contact with animals or humans, loss of appetite, lethargy and finally death. A Dog may show a mild symptoms of anorexia( not eating ) and listlessness, and is found dead in four or five days.
What are the Symptoms of Rabies in Human?
The symptoms in human include irritability, headache, fever, inexplicable and sometimes itching or pain at the site of exposure. The disease eventually progresses to paralysis, spams of muscles, throat, convulsions, delirium and finally death. The most important is that once the symptoms of rabies appear it cannot be successfully treated.
How soon after infection do symptoms appear?
The time between exposure and the onset of symptoms is variable but it is normally 3 to 8 weeks in human. In dogs, the incubation period is normally between 20 to 80 days, but it may be longer or shorter.
What is the treatment needed after exposure to rabies:
If the treatment is obtained promptly following a rabies exposure, most of the cases related to rabies can be prevented. The health professional should evaluate about the animal bite in order to determine whether the treatment is necessary.
The best way of prevention is immediate and thorough cleansing of the site of the animal bite or with liberal amounts scratch the wound either with soup or water or flushing with warm water. The wound should not be sutured, as this is thought to increase the risk of the virus entering nerves.
This is followed by the administration of an injection of HRIG (Human anti-rabies immune globulin) and 5 doses of human diploid cell rabies vaccine administered in the arm on day 1, 3, 7, 14 and 28 after exposure. The first injection is an antibody to fight the virus, and the rest of the injections are a vaccine to ensure long lasting protection. Post-exposure therapy is required even by those people who have received prophylactic vaccination. (pre- exposure vaccination); however, pre-exposure vaccination decreases the number of doses of vaccine needed and eliminates the need for HRIG—an important benefit in that there is a worldwide shortage of HRIG.
HRIG gives a rapid protection against rabies for one or two weeks after exposure,while the more lasting vaccine –induced immune response is developing. HRIG should be given to any previously unvaccinated person regardless of their age, type of exposure or time since exposure.
What Should we do if my pet is bitten by a possibly Rabies animals:
When your pet has been in a fight with an infected with demostic or wild animal, and the saliva on the wound is still moist, wash your pets’s wound with water and soap and waterproof gloves for protection while handling your pet within the first few hours of the accident.
If your pet is vaccinated, he should be revacinated immediately and closely observed for 40-45 days.
Are most street animals or stray animals more likely to Rabies?
The modern methods of controlling population methods (involving release and sterlization programs) which include rabies vaccination have have done much to reduce the risk by making the stray animals population controlled, stable and safe. These methods are the most essential part of the overall control of population of the stray animals.
What should we do If we see any Rabies animal?
In Case of Stray Dog:
Do not throw sticks or stones at it.
Do not provoke/approach the animal.
Call the appropriate authority; animal welfare organization, veterinary authority or public health authority or local animal control authority.
In case of Pet Dog:
Muzzle the animal.
Take the dog to a veterinarian to confirm if the pet is actually rabies infected or not. If there are no obvious signs of rabies , but rabies still suspected, the animal should be observed and isolated for at least 12-15 days.
How can we help in the control of Rabies?
Vaccination of the street dogs as well as your own pets and in and around your area is the best method for keeping rabies in control. Keep your pets supervised in order to reduce the chance of exposure to rabies. Get in touch with the government authorities to institute vaccination campaigns for stray animals. If you see any animal acting strangely do notify the animal welfare authority or any animal control authority about it. Do make sure your vaccinated pet should gets a booster vaccination.
If anybody gets bitten, do not panic. The right method is to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water. Get medical help instantly. Try to obtain the post-exposure therapy for people who may have been exposed to the virus.