Rabies: Causes, Symptoms and Protection
A fatal viral infection caused due to the bite / scratch of a rabid animal or an infected person, Rabies affects the central nervous system of the body, including the brain and spinal cord, leading to encephalopathy and eventually death. The incubation period of this infection is between 10 to 50 days from the time of exposure to the virus.
Rabies : how it spreads
- Rabies, which usually spreads through the saliva of a rabid animal, enters the skin of the person or animal when bitten.
- Rabies can also spread through inhalation of aerosol particles containing the virus, or when a rabid animal licks a person’s mouth / broken skin.
- Animals that usually spread rabies include non-domesticated/wild dogs, cats, bats and foxes.
Symptoms of Rabies
The initial symptoms of the disease in humans include:
- Pain where they have been bitten
- Feeling of illness
- Nausea and vomiting
When the virus starts to affect the spinal cord or brain, some neurological symptoms that appear include:
- Anxiety and confusion
- Excessive saliva production
- Hallucinations Restlessness and high level of excitement
- Paralysis of lower legs
- Difficulty in swallowing
Protecting against rabies
- Vaccination: People do not have to be vaccinated unless they are exposed to the virus
- Stay away from any animal showing symptoms of rabies and do not approach or touch unfamiliar animals
- In case you keep garbage cans outside the house, use tamper-proof lids to keep animals away
- If bitten by an animal, wash the wound throughly with soap and water and seek immediate medical help
It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible, as rabies can be fatal