Rabies is a deadly viral infection that mainly spreads through a bite from an infected animal. It is an RNA virus of the rhabdovirus family.
Without early treatment, it is usually fatal.
Animals most likely to transmit rabies in the USA includes bats, coyotes, foxes, racoons and skunks. In developing countries of Africa and Southeast Asia, stray dogs are the most likely to spread rabies to people.
Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms, the disease nearly always causes death. For this reason, anyone who may have a risk of contracting this disease should receive rabies vaccinations for protection.
The virus can affect the body in one of two ways –
• It enters the peripheral nervous system (PNS) directly and migrates to the brain.
• It replicates within muscle tissue, where it is safe from the host’s immune system. From here, it enters the nervous system through the neuromuscular junctions.
Once inside the nervous system, the virus produces acute inflammation of the brain. It results in coma and death soon follow it.
• Furious or encephalitic
The person is more likely to experience hyperactivity, feels excited, display erratic behaviour and hydrophobia. It happens in 80% of cases.
• Paralytic or dumb
This form takes longer to set in, but the effects are just as severe. Paralysis is a dominant symptom, patient eventually slip into a come and die.
The first symptom of disease be very similar to those of the flu and may last for days.
Later signs and symptoms may include –
• Difficulty swallowing
• Excessive salivation
• Fear of water
• Partial paralysis
Animals with rabies transfer the virus to other animals and to people via saliva following a bite or via a scratch. However, any contact with the mucous membrane or an open wound can also spread the virus.
The transmission of this virus is considered to be exclusively from animal to animal and animal to Human.
For humans who contract this virus, a bite from an unvaccinated dog is by far the most common culprit.
Animals that can transmit the rabies virus
Any mammal can transmit the this virus. The animals most likely to transmit the rabies virus to people include –
▪︎Pets and farm animals
Risk Factors –
For most people, the risk of contracting this virus is relatively low. However, there are certain situations that may put you at a higher risk.
These include –
• living in an area that is populated by bats
• traveling to developing countries
• living in a rural area where there is greater exposure to wild animals and little or no access to vaccines and immunoglobulin preventive therapy
• frequent camping and exposure to wild animals
• being under the age of 15 (Rabies is most common in this age group)
Although dogs are responsible for most cases worldwide, bats are the cause of most rabies deaths in the Americas.
There is no test to detect the early stages of rabies infection. After the onset of symptoms, a blood or tissue test will help a doctor to determine whether you have the disease.
However, by the time a diagnosis is confirmed, it may be too late to take action. For this reason, the patient will normally start a course of prophylactic treatment at once, without waiting for a confirmed diagnosis.
If a person develops symptoms of viral encephalitis following an animal bite, they should be treated as if they may have rabies.
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.
Treatment for people bitten by animals with rabies
If you have bitten by an animal that is known to have rabies, you will 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 arinel has rabies.But this will depend on several factors, such as the tybe of animal and the situation in which the bite occured.
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 bite you if possible, as soon as 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 form injections over 14 days.
It is a preventable disease. There are some simple measures you can take to help keep you from catching rabies –
• Get a rabies vaccination before traveling to developing countries, working closely with animals, or working in a lab handling the rabies virus.
• Vaccinate your pets
• Keep your pets away from roaming outside
• Report stray animals to animal control
• Avoid contact with wild animals
• Prevent bats from entering living spaces or other structures near your home.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda, Rabies encephalitis can be correlated with Shukra dhatugata jwara.
For more informative articles on health issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult.
You can also connect with us on