I have witnessed a lot of animal bite cases everyday. Most of the cases were from dog bites. We are lucky because our rural health unit is an animal bite treatment center. An animal doesn’t choose who will be the victim. Either man, woman, young and old is not safe at all. A friend of mine told me that his son is fond of pets. But she is not allowing him to keep any because she is afraid that it might have rabies infection. She understands even just a lick of a dog or a cat can transmit rabies. What are the reasons why you should be afraid of rabies?
Facts About Rabies
Rabies is an acute infection of the nervous system, particularly in the brain. Once it becomes a full-blown infection, it is fatal and without an effective cure. Rabies is transmitted by bites of infected animals like dog, cat, pig, bat and monkey. Yes, rabies can be transmitted by a lick. The rabies virus is present in the saliva of a rabid animal. If there is a break in the skin that was licked, the virus can travel up to the brain and cause rabies.
The initial symptoms of rabies are pain, itching and numbness at the bitten area. The patient will complain of flu-like symptoms. Days later, the patient will manifest aggressive and overactive behavior, fear of water or air (hydro and aerophobia). There are some who immediately becomes paralyzed or comatose leading to death. Very, very rarely has a person been able to recover from rabies after manifestation of the disease.
What You Should Do
- As soon as a person is bitten or an open wound is licked by an animal, the wound must be cleaned well with generous amounts of soap and running water for 10 minutes.
- You can apply alcohol to the wound after washing.
- Go to the nearest animal bite treatment center or hospital for consultation.
- You should follow the vaccination schedule. Full protection will be achieved by completing the anti-rabies vaccination schedule. If it is incomplete, it’s still unsafe because there’s a tendency you will be affected by rabies.
- When possible, the animal that has bitten is observed for rabid manifestations. Note if any of the following is observed: the animal becomes wild and runs aimlessly; there is drooling; bites any object; refuses to eat or drink or it dies within the observation period which is 14 days.
- If the animal that bit could not be observed (stray dog, accidentally killed or a bat), or the dog is highly suspected to be rabid, immediate consult to the doctor should be done.
- The best way to prevent rabies is to have your dog vaccinated yearly against rabies. This way, you will not have to worry in case your pet accidentally bites anybody.
DAY O- _______________
DAY 3- _______________
DAY 7- _______________
(Injection of anti-rabies vaccine is up to 3rd dose or DAY 7 if the dog is still alive until 14 days of observation)
DAY 14- ______________
DAY 28- ______________
NOTE: There is a law that states that the owner of the animal who bites the person will shoulder the expenses of anti-rabies vaccination.