According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), rabies is common worldwide, it is an acute viral infection of the central nervous system. Every year, about 10 million people who are bitten by animals need to be treated with a rabies vaccine. In which, the number of deaths due to this disease is up to 60,000 – 70,000 people. According to statistics, this disease 95% occurs in places with tropical climates such as Latin America, Africa and Asia.
In Southeast Asian countries, the mortality rate from rabies accounts for 80% worldwide. Although the rabies vaccine for pets has been around since 1920, rabies is still circulating in less developed countries, including Vietnam to this day.
People with rabies have a mortality rate of up to 100% (Image: Shutter Stock)
How is rabies transmitted from animals to humans?
Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of a rabid animal. usually through a bite. Occasionally, the rabies virus can also enter through a break in the skin or through the lining of the eyes, nose, or mouth. Warm-blooded animals, especially dogs, are often reservoirs of the rabies virus. In Viet Nam, Dogs are the main reservoir for rabies virus, accounting for 96-97%. In addition, this virus has also been detected in cats, ferrets, bats and other mammals.
After entering the body, the virus travels from the site of entry through the peripheral nerves to the spinal cord (or to the brain stem when bitten on the face), then to the brain and gradually spreads from the nervous system. CNS through peripheral nerves to other parts of the body.
Rabies virus enters the human body through animal bites (Image: Stock Image)
Incubation period and symptoms
The time from rabies infection to the onset of clinical symptoms depends on the amount of virus, the condition of the wound, and the distance from the wound to the central nervous system. The closer the wound is to the brain, such as the face, neck, head, etc., the shorter the incubation period.
According to WebMD, the incubation period usually lasts from 10 days to 3 months. Occasionally, there are cases of incubation of less than 1 week or more than 1 year, but extremely rare. Each day, the rabies virus travels a “distance” of 12-24mm long. It is only when this virus “docks” in the brain that the patient really has clear clinical signs. Once clinical symptoms appear, the risk of death for a person with rabies is up to 100%.
The incubation period for rabies usually lasts from 10 days to 3 months (Artwork)
Symptoms of rabies are usually divided into two stages:
– Pre-symptomatic phase (1-4 days): There is fear, headache, fever, fatigue, malaise, numbness and pain at the wound site where the virus entered.
– Encephalitis stage: The patient will lose sleep, increase the feeling of arousal such as: fear of light, noise and light wind. In addition, there are disorders of the autonomic nervous system such as dilated pupils, increased salivation, sweating, low blood pressure, etc.
Rabies outbreak will have 2 main types including encephalitis and paralysis. Encephalitis form will cause the person with this disease to be hyperactive, restlessness, confusion, agitation,…and paralysis will make the patient quadriplegic. Although the incubation period is quite long, once symptoms are detected, the patient can die in just about 2-6 days due to heart failure, lung failure or respiratory muscle paralysis.
Ways to prevent rabies
According to WHO, there is currently no effective treatment for rabies after clinical signs appear. However, the disease can be prevented by getting a rabies vaccine before or soon after exposure.
As soon as suspected of being bitten by an animal with rabies virus, the patient should calmly perform first aid to prevent the virus from entering the central nervous system, reducing the risk of death. Patient need to wash the wound repeatedly (minimum 15 minutes with water, soap, povidone iodine) and treat the wound locally as soon as possible; vaccinated with a strong rabies vaccine, using rabies immune globulin (RIG) as prescribed by your doctor.
Rabies vaccination is the leading method of disease prevention (Image: Stock Image)
Source: Medical News Today
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