Human rabies: transmission and treatment

Human rabies: transmission and treatment


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THE human anger it is a zoonosis (disease transmitted to humans by animals) caused by a virus. The disease is classified as acute viral infectious central nervous system caused by Rhabdovirus, which causes acute encephalitis.

  • Where the rabies virus is found

  • Symptoms of human anger

    • Furious rage

    • Paralytic rabies

  • Diagnosis of rabies

  • Anger transmission

  • Prophylaxis of rabies

    • Local wound treatment

    • Rabies vaccine

  • Rabies prevention

  • Human rabies numbers

Where the rabies virus is found

The rabies virus is widespread throughout the world and attacks domestic and wild mammals. It is found in saliva and secretions infected animals and is inoculated into humans through lesions and wounds caused by the animal’s bite.

Symptoms of human anger

The rabies incubation period is usually between one and three months, but it can range from less than a week to more than a year. The first manifestations of the disease are fever, usually accompanied by pain and tingling in place of the bite. As the virus spreads through the central nervous system, progressive inflammation of the brain and spinal cord occurs, which ends up causing the patient’s death.

Furious rage

Furious anger is manifested by signs of hyperactivity, excitement, hydrophobia (fear of liquids) and aerophobia (fear of being outdoors). Death occurs in a few days by cardiovascular arrest.

Paralytic rabies

Paralytic rabies represents approximately 30% of human cases of the disease and has a less dramatic course and is generally more prolonged than furious rage. The muscles are gradually paralyzed, starting with those closest to the bite or scratches. Gradually, the patient falls into a coma and dies. In general, paralytic rabies is not properly diagnosed which leads to underreporting of the disease.

Diagnosis of rabies

There are no exams that diagnose rabies infection in humans before the onset of clinical symptoms. In addition, unless there are specific signs of hydrophobia and aerophobia, clinical diagnosis is very difficult due to the lack of specificity of other symptoms, such as fever and malaise. Human rabies can be confirmed in life and after death by different techniques that allow detect the causative virus disease, viral antigens or nucleic acids in infected tissues (brain and skin) and also in urine and saliva.

Anger transmission

People are infected by a deep bite or scratch from an animal carrying the virus. The dogs they are the main hosts and transmitters of the rabies virus. In addition to them, bats are an important source of infection in the United States and Canada. Fatal cases of human rabies from contact with other wild animals are very rare.

There can also be transmission to humans through direct contact with infectious material, in general saliva, mucous membranes and recent cutaneous wounds of the animal. Bite-to-human transmission is theoretically possible, but it has never been confirmed by researchers.

Although it is rare, it is also possible to contract rabies by transplanting infected organs or inhaling aerosol containing the virus. Ingestion of raw meat or other tissues from infected animals is not a source of human infection.

Prophylaxis of rabies

First, there is an urgent need to carry out local wound treatment. Then, you should administer the rabies vaccine and anti-rabies immunoglobulin in cases where there is a recommendation. The treatment done immediately after exposure can prevent the appearance of symptoms and the death of the patient.

Local wound treatment

Local wound treatment – bite or scratch – is an effective means of protection using chemical and physical methods. The first aid recommended in these cases is to wash immediately and for a long time – at least 15 minutes – the wound site with soap and water, detergent and other substances that kill the virus.

Rabies vaccine

The rabies vaccine can be found in basic public health units or in private clinics. It is important to get the vaccine under medical recomendation and, if possible, observe the dog’s health status responsible for the bite for a few days or weeks.

Rabies prevention

Prevention occurs through be careful with pets, especially dogs, which must be vaccinated correctly. Sterilization can also be used. Government authorities and animal welfare organizations must act to carry out the zoonoses controlvaccinating dogs that live on the streets and conducting adoption campaigns. In case of bite, it is important observe the behavior of the offending animal for a few days in search of symptoms of rabies.

Human rabies numbers

Human rabies is present in 150 countries. Each year, 55 thousand people die by the disease, mainly in Asia and Africa. In the vast majority of fatal cases, dogs were the source of the infection and 40% of people bitten by infected animals are under 15 years old.

Each year, 15 million people around the world receive post-exposure prophylactic treatment using the rabies vaccine. Thus, hundreds of thousands of deaths are prevented annually according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, when symptoms of the disease arise, it is usually fatal.

Photo: © bitt24 – Shutterstock.com

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