Common Name/Other Name
Rabies is a deadly viral infection transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal following a bite or scratch. The rabies virus cannot spread through open wounds or among people.
All mammals can carry rabies. The most common animals that spread it include stray dogs and cats, foxes, skunks, and bats.
Immediate medical care is needed if a person has been bitten because the disease is 100% fatal once the symptoms appear. The initial symptoms are similar to a number of diseases because of its flu-like manifestations. Death follows a few days after the onset of more specific symptoms because the virus has already infected the brain. Without proper treatment and prevention, symptoms appear 3 to 12 weeks after infection.
The rabies virus cannot be diagnosed if it has been transmitted to a bitten person so immediate treatment is important to prevent the infection.
The initial symptoms of rabies infection are flu-like symptoms which include:
Pain, tingling or burning sensation at the site of the bite
Types of rabies:
- Furious rabies manifests with hyperactivity, excitability, fear of water and fear of fresh air. Other symptoms include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, excessive salivation and problem swallowing. These symptoms are manifestations of encephalitis or inflammation of the brain.
- Paralytic rabies takes longer to manifest. Patients slowly become paralyzed starting at the site of bite or scratch and eventually slip into a coma.
Symptoms of rabies in animals include:
Pet animals may act shy or wild animals will have no fear in humans
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP is the protocol done in the hospital for patients that have been bitten or scratched regardless if the animal is known to have the rabies virus or not. This is an immediate treatment to prevent the entry of the virus to the brain. The measures done will depend on the contact of the patient and severity of the bite or scratch.
The wound is washed with soap and water, detergent, povidone-iodine or other antiseptics for at least 15 minutes.
The first round of injections for rabies vaccine is given. Four injections should be given over 14 days.
The rabies immunoglobulin is administered if the bite or scratch is deep. A part of this injection is given near the wound bite.
Rabies vaccination can be given as a preventive measure for people who are at high-risk of exposure to rabies. The vaccination is given in 3 doses over 21 or 28 days.
Vaccinate your pets against rabies.
Keep your pets inside to avoid exposure with wild animals who might have rabies.
Report stray animals to the proper authorities.
Do not approach wild animals especially those who are unafraid of people. It is not normal for wild animals to approach people.
Do not attempt to separate fighting animals.
Do not bother animals while they are eating.
Secure garbage and other items that can attract stray animals.