What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that is highly fatal, but easily preventable. It is a curable disease but is still a very common concern, particularly for people who have frequent exposure to animals. It attacks the nervous system and causes inflammation in the brain, more commonly known as encephalitis.
Myths and Rumors About Rabies
Since it has been around for quite some time, people have made certain claims about rabies. Note, there are three prevailing beliefs about the virus:
1. Rabies only comes from stray dogs and cats.
2. It quickly turns a person rabid.
3. It is fatal.
The first is only partly true. Rabies is a concern for all animals. Animals found in the wild, strays, and domesticated pets all have the potential to carry the virus. Contrary to popular belief, preventing rabies from infected animals is not a one-time thing. Animals, not just pets, need to have an anti-rabies shot every three years.
While the first one slightly missed the mark, the second and third beliefs are proven to be factual. Infection sets in varying speeds (from less than a week to three months) usually causing the following symptoms:
- Tingling at the exposure site
- Violent movements
- Uncontrolled excitement
- Fear of water
- Inability to move the body, and;
- Loss of consciousness
Once symptoms appear, the disease goes into its fatal stage.
With these proven and disproven, here are answers to common questions about rabies.
How do you get infected?
The most common method of infection is through bites. Contact between any open membrane (such as eyes, mouth, and nose) and rabies-infected saliva is equally hazardous. Cases of transmission through an aerosolized form of the virus, and organ donations are possible. However, these are considered uncommon with the former being only available in laboratories, while stricter screening procedures have been developed to avoid the latter.
What do you do when you are suspected of being infected?
Immediately washing the wound or other suspected areas of infection will prevent the virus from spreading further. Afterward, go to the nearest clinic, hospital, or medical facility and get checked by a medical professional. They will assess if you are in need of medication or treatment.
How can you be safe against rabies?
Prevention is always a better option than finding a cure. Therefore, it is advised to keep your distance from unfamiliar animals. Meanwhile, pets are advised to get anti-rabies and other shots every three years.
It always pays to be informed.
If you want to learn more about rabies, Medgate’s team of medical experts is only a ring away.