Rabies is a viral disease which is 100% fatal that is when a person gets infected by this disease the death of the person is certain.  The causative agent of rabies is rhabdo virus. Rhabdovirus is a virus infecting mammals and belongs to rhabdoviridae family. Rhabdovirus is bullet shaped virus which can survive for weeks at 4°c.

    How does it happen?

    All warm blooded animals including man are susceptible for rabies infection. Man and dogs are intermediate susceptible to thus infection. New borne dogs are more susceptible to this infection than adult dogs. There are two types of rabies virus that is Street virus with long incubation period of 1-12 weeks and Fixed virus short incubation period of 6-7 days.

    Rabies is a natural infection of many animals like dogs, bats, cats, foxes, wolves. But dogs, foxes and vampire bats are most important hosts. Human are most commonly infected by the bite of rabid dog or other Rabid infected animals. Saliva of the infected animal contains the virus. When that infected animal bites the human the Saliva containing rabies virus get deposited in the wound. The incubation period (time period between the entry of virus into the body to the initial appearance of sign and symptoms) of the virus is 1-3 months, or short as 10 days.

    Now after that this rabies virus multiplies in the muscles or in the tissues near in site of entry. Initially it’s course of spread is centripetal that from peripheral nerves to central nervous system (CNS). Following infection of the CNS the virus spreads centrifugal again towards peripheral nerves and involves skeletal and myocardial muscles, adrenal gland and skin. Salivary gland invasion also occur as it is most important in transmitting to other animal or human. If the person treated with injections just after the bite by the animal than the person can survive.

    How can rabies be diagnosed?

    1. In humans

    Diagnosis of the disease in humans can be done by corneal impression smears, facial skin biopsies, saliva or CSF.

    2. In animals

    Diagnosis of the disease in animals can be done by demonstration of negri bodies in brain, saliva etc.

    Treatment or Prophylaxis

    As soon as after the dog or infected animal bites the wound should be thoroughly washed with soap and water as soap inactivates the virus. After this wound is treated with quaternary ammonium compound or tincture iodine or alcohol and then should be hurried to the doctor. Treatment which can be done for prevention of this lethal disease can be done in two forms that is pre-exposure treatment or pre-exposure treatment. Pre-exposure treatment is necessary for those who work in laboratories and for those who handle infected animals. Whereas post-exposure treatment includes local treatment, hyperimmune serum and vaccination.

    Prevention and control

    Prevention and control of it can be done by vaccinating animals, elimination of stray dogs, educating people regarding care of dogs and prevention of rabies.

    [beautifulquote align=”full” cite=””]28th September is celebrated as world rabies day.[/beautifulquote]

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