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What is Rabies and how is it transmitted?

What is Rabies and how is it transmitted?


(by Audrey Sim, Guardian Pharmacist)

What is Rabies and how is it transmitted?
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that is transmitted via the bite or scratch of an infected animal, either wild animals such as monkeys, bats, racoon or skunks but more commonly, stray cats or dogs.

What are the signs and symptoms associated with Rabies?
Symptoms can appear within days or months later after being bitten. The initial symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, and fatigue. The infection is also accompanied by a tingling, twitching or burning sensation around the wound area. As the infection progresses, the virus can spread to the brain and cause more severe symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, agitation, difficulty swallowing, fear of water, paralysis. Death usually occurs within days after the onset of these symptoms.

Are there any treatment options available for Rabies?
Immediate first-aid of the wound is crucial. The wound area should be flushed with soap and water or povidone-iodine solution for at least 15 minutes. Medical care should be sought immediately where appropriate injections, either combination of the human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) with the rabies vaccine or the rabies vaccine alone, would be administered to help prevent the virus from entering the brain.

Can Rabies be prevented?
Yes, rabies can be prevented. Owners should get their petsvaccinated against rabies and keep them from coming into contact with other stray animals. Similarly, a pre-exposure vaccine is also recommended for people who are at a higher risk of contracting rabies or if you are travelling to a country where rabies is common. Also, stay away from wild animals that may carry the rabies virus.

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