By Dr Nagaraju Ravikanti
Consultant General Physician
Published on: 07/07/2022
Rabies is a severe infection that affects the brain and the nervous system. It can be fatal if not treated on time. Therefore, people who are at high risk of contracting rabies are given a rabies vaccine to protect them against any potential infections. If given to a person soon after being exposed to the infection, the vaccination can also prevent the illness.
What is Rabies?
Rabies, also known as hydrophobia, is a deadly viral infection. It is a contagious disease that is spread through the saliva of an infected animal after it bites or scratches another animal or a human. As this disease affects the brain and nervous system of the affected person, it must be prevented in time. Rabies symptoms are non-specific in the early stages but increasingly impact the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, and the central nervous system.
Let’s know the signs and symptoms of rabies!
In the initial stages of rabies, the symptoms are usually vague and easily confused with other types of mild diseases. The earliest symptoms of rabies may resemble those of the flu and may last for days. Later, the following symptoms may also occur:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Partial paralysis
- Excessive salivation
If the symptoms are not treated for a longer period, they can worsen!
Now the question is, can rabies be treated?
Visit the doctor or a nearby clinic if an animal bites you; there might be a wound. Wash the wound and the surrounding area with a lot of soap and water immediately. The anti-rabies vaccine needs to be started right away if any animal is known to have the disease.
If the animal is a pet or a farm animal, it can be quarantined for 10 days to be tested for rabies. If the animal is healthy and shows no signs of rabies, the injections may be avoided.
However, there is no specific treatment for rabies. Rabies is almost always fatal, with only a few survivors.
Rabies immune globulin: This is a faster shot that inhibits the virus.It should be given as soon as possible for maximum efficacy.
Prevention of Rabies
- Vaccinate your pets regularly, and encourage your neighbours and friends to do the same.
- Never take your pets in forests or wild areas.
- Keep bats away from your home.
- Inform the authorities if you see a wild animal near your area.
Don’t wait for the symptoms to get severe. It can even be fatal if left untreated!