Rabies is a zoonotic viral disease (i.e. it can be transmitted from animals to humans) which affects domestic and wild animals.
year, rabies kills more than 50,000 people and millions of animals around the
world. It is a viral disease transmitted to animals and humans through close contact
with the saliva from infected animals through bites, scratches, or licks on
broken skin and mucous membranes.
is usually spread to humans from infected stray dogs. In addition, some other
animals can also spread rabies. These include cats, foxes, bats, raccoons and
symptoms of rabies are initially non-specific but progress to mild fever, pain
at the site of bite, anxiety, agitation, increased excitability, hydrophobia
(fear of water), aerophobia (fear of fresh air), etc. Once symptoms of the
disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans.
a bite from a suspected rabid animal, it is essential to clean the wound
properly. In addition, immunization should start immediately along with the
administration of human rabies immunoglobulin. The newer vaccines have a
shorter schedule and are less commonly associated with side effects, as
compared to the older vaccines.
above measures if started immediately can prevent the onset of rabies and
death. Once the infection is established, death is inevitable. In such
circumstances, the person should be isolated and provided nursing care in the
The animal should be observed for a period of at least 10 days
following a bite. If the animal is alive and well till this time, it is
unlikely that it suffers from rabies. If the animal dies, examination on a
sample of the brain helps in the diagnosis.