Rabies: The Myth and Facts


New Delhi: Over 95 per cent deaths by Rabies occur in the regions of Asia and Africa! Rabies is a disease that is mostly fatal if the clinical symptoms begin to appear. In India, there are about a hundred thousand cases of the disease every year.

In India, there are about a hundred thousand cases of the disease every year.

So what is Rabies?
Rabies refers to a deadly virus that is transmitted from infected animals and insects to humans, mostly through bites. The virus of rabies attacks the central nervous system. It can be treated through rabies vaccination, provided one gets vaccinated as soon as he gets bitten by an animal.

Cause of Rabies:
Rabies in humans is caused by animal bites carrying the Rabies virus. The virus is usually transferred to humans via animal saliva. Infected saliva coming in contact with open wounds can also lead to Rabies infection. Also, animal scratches with infected saliva can cause the infection.

WHO estimates that close to 15 million people receive post-bite vaccination which alone prevents thousands of Rabies deaths worldwide.

  • Symptoms of Rabies:
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • HallucinationsAnxiety and aggressiveness
  • Partial paralysis
  • Difficult in swallowing
  •  Nausea

Prevention from Rabies:
A lot of cases involving Rabies infection are believed to be triggered from pets and other domesticated animals. Vaccinating pets should be the first thing one should do in order to prevent Rabies infection. Pet vaccines against Rabies virus are available at government as well as private veterinary medical centres. Dogs in particular must be vaccinated at all costs. WHO experts estimates that 95 per cent of Rabies cases originate from dog bites.

Pre-exposure vaccination
Pre-exposure vaccination against Rabies infection is available at all the major government hospitals. One can ask for the same at private medical facilities as well.

Post-exposure vaccination
The first thing that you should do after being bitten by an animal is seek medical help. Post exposure vaccination has saved thousands of lives.

Myths Regarding Rabies:

  1. Myth: Only dog bites cause Rabies infection in humans.Fact: The majority of Rabies infection cases in humans are caused as a result of dog bites and scratches. But this does not mean that other animals do not carry the virus. If you have been bitten by any animal, you must seek medical help at the earliest.
  2. Myth: Vaccinating dogs for Rabies only once is enough.Fact: Vaccinations have proper schedules that must be followed for optimum protection. Just one dose of vaccination will not suffice as booster shots are required to keep the Rabies causing viruses under check.MIt is always best to check with a good veteran.
  3. Myth: First aid in case of animal bites and animal scratches are not at all helpful.Fact: Proper first-aid can make a lot of difference in case of Rabies infections. Washing wounds with soap water or disinfectants can seize the infection from growing.
  4. Myth: All Rabies vaccinations for animals are injectable in nature.Fact: A lot of people are not aware of the Fact that Rabies vaccinations are also available in forms that can be consumed orally. These were developed specifically for aggressive animals. Such vaccines are fed with baits.



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