Rabies is a zoonotic disease (a disease that is transmitted to humans from animals) that is caused by a virus. This virus is present in saliva of warm blooded animals.
Rabies infects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to humans through close contact with infected saliva (via bites or scratches) of Warm blooded animals.
How it infects human?
- Virus enters via animal bite.
- It replicates in muscle at site of bite.
- It travels via nerves up spinal cord to brain.
- Virus travels from brain via nerves to other tissues such as eye, kidneys and salivary glands.
Symptoms of rabies are usually seen 2-8 weeks after contact with a rabid animal. In some cases it can take more than a year or years before the disease becomes apparent. In these cases the link to the event or cause of infection often cannot be made.
The symptoms of rabies are:
- Flu including fever, headache and fatigue
- Slight or partial paralysis
- Hyper salivation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hydrophobia (fear of water)
Symptoms usually progress towards paralysis and coma, in cases rabies. Death usually occurs from respiratory paralysis within days after the onset of symptoms.
You cannot get rabies from the blood, urine, or feces of a rabid animal, or from just touching an animal.
First Aid in Case of Animal Bite
Elimination of rabies virus at the site of infection by chemical or physical means is the most effective first response.
- Clean the area immediately with soap and water for at least 5 minutes.
- See a medical Doctor as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours.
- Go for the vaccination.
Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal. Therefore, any person who has been bitten, scratched, or somehow exposed to the saliva of a potentially rabid animal should see a physician as soon as possible for treatment.
Prevent Rabies in your pet and you
- Vaccinate your pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) and livestock (sheep, cattle, horses) against rabies. Don’t let your pets wander unsupervised.
- Contact animal control to remove stray animals or animals acting sick or strange in your neighborhood.
- Prevent the contact of your pet animals with wild or sick animals.
- Never touch or approach unfamiliar animals, domestic or wild. Don’t touch dead animals. Teach your children the same.
- Seal openings into your home (basement and chimney openings) to prevent wild animals from gaining entrance.