A patient having low grade fever ,headache,malaise and some amount of cough usually not given much importance thinking it to be common cold or some minor viral fever.But if has a history of exposure to the bite or saliva contact of an unimmunized domestic pet like
dog,rabbit,monkey,cat or mongoose or an exposure to wolf ,monkey or jackel has to be viewed seriously.If these symptoms occur near about the 10th day of such exposure it adds weight to warrant a close observation for Rabies.If it is so the patient will go to the next phage of the disease i.e.forgetfulness,stiffness,loss /reduced sensation on some part of body,muscle twitching and hypersensitivity to cold ,even gentle breeze ,sound or even to gentle
Image by Shenghung Lin via Flickr
The classical symptom of hydrophobia is seen about more then 50% of cases and is diagnostic.Here the patient becomes afraid of even the sight of water leave aside the drinking of it.There after the patient goes to convulsions,coma and dies usually of respiratory arrest.
It is very much painful to watch the site and diagnose the disease as cure is a remote possibility.
After about 10 days to 1 year of contact with rabid animal , depending the virus load,site of injury and immunization status the victim the disease may manifest.The mean time is around 2 months.This rabies virus travels along the nerve tissue to the Grey matter of brain to multiply there and come back to periphery to manifest.There occurs severe spasm of wind pipe making it difficult to take respiration.
First aid includes through washing, using soap water and if cetrimide solution is available it is good.Immunization for Tetanus and some antibiotics and dressing of the wound are required.Then specific treatment should be sought .It is in form of passive immunization by Rabies Immunoglobin(RIG) according to the assessment of the doctor.Active immunization by HDCV(Human Diploid Cell Culture Vaccine) is by far the best and lack many adverse effect of other available vaccines.Other vaccines include a Vera cell/Chick embryo cell culture vaccine.The sheep brain culture vaccine is no longer preferred.The vaccine is taken in intramuscular route on 0,3,7,14,21 to 30 and another on 90th day.Day 0 means the day of bite or when the person first reports.
Those persons are at the risk of contact(occupational Hazard) such as veterinary people should get immunized with 3 doses and booster on 2nd year for their protection.
Useful tips is to restraint the suspected animal after the bite ,if feasible.And keep under observation for 10 days in which period mostly they die or show symptoms of disease in them.They should not be killed in anger immediately after bite.If they show symptoms of disease or die their brain should be sent for recovery of virus to confirm the disease in them.
It is also seen that some healthy carrier animals are also there.So I think it is better if one is immunized than to wait for other things.Immunization of pet is an important step for animal lovers and persons having occupational hazard.