Rabies is an avoidable viral disease of mammals mainly often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. According to Centre of Disease and Control, majority of the cases reported were bites from raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
Recent studies show that rabies is worldwide. Every year, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 55,000 people die due to rabies. Within that 55,000, 40% have been bitten by a rabid animal belong to the age group of 15 years old and below. Dogs have been found to be the main source of human rabies deaths. The rabies virus is a very fast pathogen that could infect the central nervous system. So it is a must to call for help as well as give proper medical attention on the victim through wound cleansing as well as immunization within a frame of time after the bite. Death can eventually ensue when dog bites or other animal bites cannot be treated.
Signs and symptoms are dependent on the incubation period of rabies which lasts between 1 to 3 months. Initial symptoms may like be other illnesses and other unexplained tingling sensation on the bite site.
- General Weakness
As the virus travels into the blood stream and find its way to the central nervous system, the symptoms also worsen causing a neurologic related group of symptoms. The fatal inflammation of the brain can elicited these symptoms.
- Inability to sleep or insomnia
- Slight or partial paralysis
- Increase in production of saliva or hypersalivation
- Locked jaw causing difficulty in swallowing
- Hydrophobia or fear of water
The onset of the last portion of symptoms may mean an impending death of the individual.
As of the present, there is no known diagnostic procedure to detect rabies. Only autopsy reports can confirm that the cause of death of an individual is through rabies. The post-mortem procedure is the standard way to check for antigen in the brain tissues. Fluorescent antibody tests are used in order to detect these antigens.
1. Wound cleansing must be done within hours after the bite has been detected. This can be done through exposing the wounded area in running water so that the rabies within that wound can washed away. The water exposure and flushing may last within 15 minutes alongside with the use of soap and water. Painting the wound area with providone iodine can prevent entrance of opportunistic bacteria.
2. The post-exposure prophylaxis may include the following:
a. Category 1 – Are individuals who have touched animals or exposure licks of animals on intact skin. Washing the area may be the best way as a post-exposure measure.
b. Category 2 – Individuals who suffered minor scratches or abrasions that does not bleed. The best post exposure measure is to have immunization and local treatment.
c. Category 3 – Bites which include scratches or bites that left the wounded bleeding. The best post exposure measure is to provide immunization and administration of rabies immunoglobulin as well as local treatment of the wound.