What is rabies
It is a deadly infectious disease that spreads through the saliva of infected animals and affects the nervous system. People can become infected with rabies if they are bitten by a carrier of the disease or if saliva spills onto an open wound, mucous membranes, or eyes.
If a person has the first signs of infection, then he will die with an almost 100% probability. Death is usually due to respiratory and heart rate arrest, as the virus damages the parts of the brain that control these functions.
Who can tolerate rabies
Up to 99% of human infections are associated with dogs. But other mammals are also carriers:
In extremely rare cases, the virus is transmitted during organ transplant when the donor has rabies.
What are the symptoms of rabies
They usually appear 3–12 weeks after infection, less often after a year. It all depends on how many viruses have entered the body and where the wound is. If the animal has bitten on the neck or head, symptoms appear earlier, as the virus enters the brain faster.
The first signs of rabies are similar to the flu. These are malaise, weakness, high fever and headache. Sometimes discomfort occurs at the site of the bite. And after a few days, the following symptoms appear:
confusion, hyperactivity, or aggressive behavior;
hydrophobia - a person is afraid to drink liquid;
aerophobia - fear of a draft or fresh air;
difficulty swallowing and breathing;
What to do if bitten by an animal
Do this as soon as possible:
Wash the wound with soap and water, preferably for a few minutes.
Disinfect the bite with any alcohol or iodine-based product, you can apply a simple bandage.
Consult a doctor at the nearest hospital or clinic within a few hours of the accident.
A healthcare provider may give shots of immunoglobulin around the wound to stop the spread of the virus. But most often, a vaccine is used against rabies. If a person has not previously received such a vaccine, then he will be prescribed four injections within a month. And for the vaccinated, two injections are enough with an interval of several days.
How to protect yourself from rabies
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following measures:
Vaccinate pets and prevent them from interacting with wild animals.
Protect your pets from the attack of predators.
Report stray animals to local authorities.
Get vaccinated in advance. Especially if you are planning to travel to developing countries in Asia and Africa, where the virus is common.
Do not come into contact with wild animals. For example, you should not climb into caves where bats live. It is also better not to approach and stroke the stray animals in the city. Even when infected with rabies, they can still seem friendly and make contact.