Rabies vaccine is the most effective way to prevent rabies. But the second case of death despite receiving the vaccine has been reported today in Kozhikode’s Perampra. On 21st of last month, Chandrika (53) was bitten by a dog at Koothali Puthyedam. He died while undergoing treatment in the medical college. The Kozhikode DMO has informed that to confirm the cause of death, wait for the results of the tests.
How does rabies occur in humans?
In India, rabies is usually caused by a dog bite. The infection is transmitted from the saliva of animals. The virus grows in their salivary glands. Rabies is caused when a dog bites and its saliva mixes with the wound. The virus is not transmitted through a dog’s blood or feces, only from their saliva. The infection spreads to the muscles and then through the nerves to the brain and other parts of the body.
What are the symptoms of rabies?
In the first 10 – 20 days after a dog bite, the patient will have symptoms such as fatigue, headache, malaise and fever. 20 – 90 days after infection, the symptoms of fear of water, fear of darkness, difficulty in throat when drinking water and eating food and fear of everything appear.
How to prevent rabies?
The risk of infection from a dog bite can be categorized into several levels.
∙ A bite from a stray dog carries a high risk of infection.
∙ If bitten by a domestic dog, the risk of infection is very low if the dog is properly vaccinated. However, it is better to seek the help of a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
∙ If you have been bitten by a pet dog and the dog has had any recent changes in unusual behavior patterns (increased aggression, being unusually dumb, trying to attack out of the ordinary when approached) you should definitely consult a doctor as soon as possible and take the dog to a veterinarian.
∙ If bitten by other animals such as cats, mice and squirrels, there is less chance of contracting rabies. But there is a risk of infection if the animals come and go in the house accidentally. Because we cannot tell if these animals have been bitten by a rabid dog from the outside. In India, most cases of rabies are from dogs. Bat-borne rabies has been found in foreign countries.
We can categorize the risk of infection into 3 categories if bitten by a dog.
Category 1: The risk is very low if the dog’s saliva comes in contact with the skin.
Category 2: If there is a scratch on the skin or a small cut, and the dog licks or gnaws on the cut, category two is included.
Category 3: The risk of infection is high if the bite is deep and bleeds. Bites on the hand or face are the most serious. It can spread to the brain very quickly, leading to complications.
First Aid for Dog Bite
∙ Wash the injured area thoroughly with soap and water.
∙ Washing with betadine solution, if present, with water ensures further protection.
∙ Get to the hospital as soon as possible.
∙ Seek proper treatment for disease prevention (Post Exposure Prophylaxis).
There are two types of Post Exposure Prophylaxis
It will take time to see the results of the current injection. (It takes some time for the immunity to show up in the body if the vaccine is taken in the normal course). Therefore, the immune globule should be taken to prevent the virus from spreading in the body (for quick effect). Human immunoglobulin (HRIG) is commonly used. Immunoglobulin is given as an injection in a dose based on each person’s body weight. This helps prevent the infection from spreading from the injured area to other parts of the body. The amount of passive antibody increases in the body within 24 hours. This prevents the virus from spreading to the nerves and brain. 5 doses of injection should be taken within 28 days (counting from the day of the bite – 0, 3, 7, 14, 28). It must be taken without interruption. Those working in the veterinary field and dog handlers should take Pre Exposure Prophylaxis and check the immunity level of the vaccine once in six months.
It is necessary to pay attention to all these things and create awareness about rabies in children. Tell the children to inform their parents or other adults if a situation like this occurs. Basic knowledge will help you face such situations with courage without fear.
Credit for information; Dr. M. Muhammad Hanif
Content Summary: Rabies in humans