It is a viral disease that is generally transmitted as a result of the bite of sick animals, causing brain inflammation and ending with death.
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From which animals is rabies transmitted and how?
The main source of rabies in nature is wild animals such as wolves, jackals, foxes, pigs, bears and hyenas. In addition, a type of bat found only in South America carries the rabies virus. The rabies virus can somehow pass on to domestic animals such as dogs, cats, donkeys, and survive among them. Cold-blooded animals such as snakes and lizards do not carry rabies virus. Bites by birds, chickens, mice, hamsters and rabbits do not pose a risk of rabies. Almost all animals get sick and die after contracting the rabies virus. Only bats can carry the rabies virus without getting sick themselves.
The rabies virus spreads to humans through wounds caused by the bites of sick animals. More rarely, people with open wounds can get the rabies virus by scratching their feet and claws contaminated with the saliva of these sick animals. Almost all of the injuries that carry the risk of rabies are caused by unprovoked attacks. Biting incidents that occur when animals are eating, when a food that has been given to them is tried to be taken again, if the animal is hurt, when the offspring of animals with cubs are touched or approached, or when the territory of shepherds and guard dogs bred to protect the herd or an area is approached, are usually innocent events in terms of rabies. . But wounds caused by hunting dogs should always be viewed with suspicion.
Characteristics of animals with rabies
- Animals with rabies show behavioral changes in the early stages of the disease.
- They are timid and cowardly at first.
- They urinate frequently and have an excessive desire to drink water.
- While trying to stay out of sight at first, they gradually do not listen to their owner’s orders and even attack their owners.
- Dogs leave their homes and never come back.
- As the disease progresses, they begin to drool in large quantities from their mouths.
- They lose their balance gradually, become unable to walk with the paralysis that occurs, and fall.
- A rabid animal will die within a week at the latest.
How does rabies develop in humans?
The virus travels to the brain through the nerves in the wound caused by the rabid animal, where it begins to multiply. This process is slow. The period from the entry of the virus to the symptoms of the disease is called the incubation period. Although this period varies between 20 and 60 days on average, the incubation period may be shortened or prolonged depending on the proximity of the bite site to the brain, the size of the wound and the richness of the wound site. It can be shortened to 4-5 days or extended up to a year.
What should be done in suspected rabies bites?
This issue is much more important than how rabies develops. Because when there is a risk of rabies, measures to be taken, not treatment, are life-saving. The most effective procedure, which is at the beginning of these, is washing the wound with plenty of soapy water. It has been determined that this very easy procedure, which can be applied anywhere, reduces the risk of rabies to the injured person by more than 90 percent. The second most important action to take is to take the animal that caused the injury, if possible, under surveillance. As we mentioned before, the rabid animal dies within a week at the latest. Survival of the animal under observation for 10 days will show that the risk of rabies has disappeared. This will save us from unnecessary fear and panic. Another important point is to apply to a health institution as soon as possible. how it happened, Accurate and complete information should be given about whether the biting animal is owned or not. The physician evaluating the patient will give all the data into consideration. He will decide whether to vaccinate, taking into account the location of the wound, the size of the wound, the reason for the bite, whether the wound has been washed with soapy water, and whether the animal is under observation. After that, what the patient needs to do is to follow the doctor’s advice completely.
What should be done and what should not be done?
It is wrong to kill an animal that bites or causes injury in anger. If the attack does not continue, if there is no ongoing danger, animals that bite or scratch should never be killed. It should not be tried to treat the wound with different methods. Regardless, you should not neglect to apply to a health institution. The event should not be dismissed as trivial. Generally ;
- Avoid animals that eat their food.
- Unknown animals should not be approached
- Animals should not be hurt
- Vaccinations of animals raised at home or for work should be done on time.
- Animals that are sick or need help should be approached with caution.
- Care should be taken with animals with cubs.
- Pets should be kept under control
- Hands and wounds must be washed with soapy water in all kinds of injuries, whether important or not.
If there is a risk of rabies, the most effective measure to be taken is vaccination. Vaccines made in the past had quite a lot of side effects. However, the protection power was not high. Today, vaccines made with viruses produced in human cells are used. It has almost no side effects, and its protective powers are high. The classical program is in the form of a single dose of vaccination on the arm on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, 28th and 90th days, counting the bite event as day 0. Various vaccination programs can be applied, such as vaccination of previously vaccinated people, vaccination without being bitten for professional reasons (veterinarians, etc.), vaccination done during the period when the biting animal is under observation. This will be decided by the physician in the institution applied for.
In cases where the risk is very high, rabies antisera are used.