Rabies is a viral disease involving the central nervous system especially brain inflammation. Domestic cats, dogs and rabbits as well as wild animals such as raccoons, skunks and bats can pass the virus to humans through a bite or scratch. The main objective in fighting the virus is prompt treatment.
Recognition of the symptoms
The time frame between the bite and the start of the symptoms is generally 4-12 weeks. Nevertheless, the incubation period can vary from a few days up to 6 years.
The initial start of the condition include flu-like symptoms such as:
- Muscle weakness
There is also a burning sensation at the bite site. Once the central nervous system is attacked by the virus, there are 2 different forms of the disease that can develop.
Types of rabies
The furious type can cause hyperactivity and excitability along with erratic behavior.
Other symptoms that might arise include:
- Excessive salivation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Fear of water
This form might take a longer time to set in but the effects are severe. The individual slowly becomes paralyzed and slip into a coma and die.
Is there a cure?
After exposure to the rabies virus, a series of injections are given to prevent the infection from setting in. The rabies immunoglobulin provides an immediate dosage of rabies antibodies to deal with the infection to prevent the virus from having a head start.
The vaccine is vital in avoiding the disease. The vaccine is administered as a series of 5 shots over 14 days.
Receiving the rabies vaccine right after an animal bite is the ideal way to prevent the infection. The doctor will treat the wound by washing it for at least 15 minutes using water and soap, iodine or detergent. The rabies immunoglobulin is given and a series of injections is started for the rabies vaccine.
Rabies can be prevented with the help of simple measures such as:
- Pets should be vaccinated regularly
- Get the vaccination before travelling to developing countries, when working with animals or working in a facility that handles the rabies virus
- Prevent pets from roaming outdoors
- Avoid contact with wild animals
- Report any stray animals to the animal control
- Prevent bats from entering living areas or other structures close to the house