Rabies is usually transmitted through an animal bite, for example, from stray dogs. The common man’s understanding of rabies is a deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals – Rabies
Symptoms include fever, headache, excess salivation, muscle spasms, paralysis and mental confusion.
Seeking immediate medical attention after a bite or suspected bite is of the foremost importance. There is no specific treatment for rabies. Once symptoms appear, it’s nearly always fatal. A vaccine can prevent infection.
Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease nearly always causes death.
For this reason, anyone who may have a risk of contracting rabies should receive rabies vaccinations for protection and prevention.
The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu and may last for days.
Later signs and symptoms may include the below:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Excessive salivation
- Fear brought on by attempts to drink fluids because of difficulty swallowing water
- Partial paralysis
When to see a doctor
Raising an appointment and seeking medical care if bitten by animal pr exposed to bite, would help a lot.
Based on your injuries and the situation in which the exposure occurred, you and your doctor can decide whether you should receive treatment to prevent rabies.
Even if you aren’t sure whether you’ve been bitten, seek medical attention. For instance, a bat that flies into your room while you’re sleeping may bite you without waking you.
If you awake to find a bat in your room, assume you’ve been bitten. Also, if you find a bat near a person who can’t report a bite, such as a small child or a person with a disability, assume that a person has been bitten. Prevention is better than cure.
Rabies infection is caused by the rabies virus. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Infected animals can spread the virus by biting another animal or a person.
In rare cases, rabies can be spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes, such as the mouth or eyes. This could occur if an infected animal were to lick an open cut on your skin.
The virus that causes rabies is carried by any mammal (an animal that suckles its young) can transmit the rabies virus. The animals most likely to transmit the rabies virus to people include:
- Pets and farm animals
- Wild animals
In rare cases, the virus has been transmitted to tissue and organ transplant recipients from an infected organ.
- Factors that can increase your risk of rabies include:
- Travelling or living in developing countries where rabies is more common, including countries in Africa and Southeast Asia.
- Activities that are likely to put you in contact with wild animals that may have rabies, such as exploring caves where bats live or camping without taking precautions to keep wild animals away from your campsite
- Working in a laboratory with the rabies virus
- Wounds to the head or neck, which may help the rabies virus travel to your brain more quickly
To reduce your risk of coming in contact with rabid animals:
- Vaccinate your pets. Cats, dogs and ferrets can be vaccinated against rabies. Ask your veterinarian how often your pets should be vaccinated.
- Keep your pets confined. Keep your pets inside and supervise them when outside. This will help keep your pets from coming in contact with wild animals.
- Protect small pets from predators. Keep rabbits and other small pets, such as guinea pigs, inside or in protected cages so that they are safe from wild animals. These small pets can’t be vaccinated against rabies.
- Report stray animals to local authorities. Call your local animal control officials or other local law enforcement to report stray dogs and cats.
- Don’t approach wild animals. Wild animals with rabies may seem unafraid of people. It’s not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people, so stay away from any animal that seems unafraid.
- Keep bats out of your home. Seal any cracks and gaps where bats can enter your home. If you know you have bats in your home, work with a local expert to find ways to keep bats out.
- Consider the rabies vaccine if you’re travelling. If you’re travelling to a country where rabies is common and you’ll be there for an extended period of time, ask your doctor whether you should receive the rabies vaccine.
At the time a rabid animal bites you, there’s no way to know whether the animal has transmitted the rabies virus to you. For this reason, treatment to prevent the rabies virus from infecting your body is recommended if the doctor thinks there’s a chance you have been exposed to the virus.
Once a rabies infection is established, there’s no effective treatment. Though a small number of people have survived rabies, the disease usually causes death. For that reason, if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies, you must get a series of shots to prevent the infection from taking hold.
Treatment for people bitten by animals with rabies
If you’ve been bitten by an animal that is known to have rabies, you’ll receive a series of shots to prevent the rabies virus from infecting you. If the animal that bit you can’t be found, it may be safest to assume that the animal has rabies. But this will depend on several factors, such as the type of animal and the situation in which the bite occurred.
Rabies shots include:
A fast-acting shot (rabies immune globulin) to prevent the virus from infecting you. Part of this injection is given near the area where the animal bit you if possible, as soon as possible after the bite.
A series of rabies vaccinations to help your body learn to identify and fight the rabies virus. Rabies vaccinations are given as injections in your arm. You receive four injections over 14 days.
Determining whether the animal that bit you has rabies is at a task, but not impossible.
In some cases, it’s possible to determine whether the animal that bit you has rabies before beginning the series of rabies shots. That way, if it’s determined the animal is healthy, you won’t need the shots.