World Rabies Day (28th September, 2018)

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According to the world health organization, “rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms. In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans. Yet, rabies can affect both domestic and wild animals. It is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.”

Early symptoms include fever and tingling at the site of exposure. These symptoms culminate in brain inflammation in humans and other mammals that could lead to aggressive behavior such as violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, and inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

The most common animal carriers of rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes.  The disease can be transmitted to other animals including human beings through bites or scratches from their pets. Infection

Human to human infection cannot be ruled out; including infection through unvetted organ transplant. Contact from the saliva of an infected animal however forms the highest method of transmission. It is vital to understand the following about rabies;

  • Rabies is not a rare disease
  • Not all animals transmit rabies, and other can transmit more
  • Some animal may not show sign of infection
  • Protect yourself against rabies
  • In case of bites, vaccines are available
  • Your are at risk of being exposed to rabies from pets than from wild animals
  • Incubation period of rabies is not away the same
  • There are many lab test for rabies and doesn’t require a victim to be dead

To prevent rabies, take the following measures;

  • Vaccinate pet dogs and cats
  • Don’t drink milk from infected cows or buffalos
  • Vaccinate children against rabies

Infected animals display the following behavior - aggressive and bite without provocation, tends to eat sticks, papers and such, runs for no apparent reason, barks and growls all the time, produce excess saliva and foams at the mouth.

Infected human display the following signs - always in pain, are hydrophobic, restlessness, excessive salivation, suffer from convulsions, and eventually die from the infection

Consult a doctor immediately when bitten by an animal that is suspected to be infected with rabies.

Compiled by Grace Sitienei – University of Nairobi Library