What is Rabies Disease ?
Rabies is a deadly virus that spreads to humans from the saliva, or saliva, of infected animals. The rabies virus is usually transmitted to other living things by biting.
Among the species with the highest probability of catching and transmitting rabies in our country are domestic animals such as horses, donkeys, cows, goats, cats, and dogs, and wild animals such as bears, jackals, pigs, hedgehogs, skunks, moles, wolves, foxes, martens and bats.
Rabies is a disease that requires early intervention. In almost every case when signs and symptoms of rabies begin to appear, the disease causes the death of the individual. For this reason, it is mandatory for every individual who is at risk of contracting rabies to have rabies vaccination to be protected.
What Causes Rabies ?
Rabies infection is caused by the rabies virus. The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Any mammal, that is, any species of animal that suckles its young, can transmit the rabies virus to other species. Infected animals can spread the virus by biting another animal or person.
In rarer cases, the rabies virus can be spread when infected saliva comes into contact with tissues with mucous membranes, such as the mouth or eyes, or through an open wound. This can occur even if an infected animal licks a small, exposed cut on an individual's skin. In addition to biting, injuries such as clawing can also lead to transmission of the rabies virus.
In very rare cases, it has been observed that the virus is transmitted to tissue and organ transplant recipients through an infected organ. Consuming raw meat or milk from a rabid animal can also cause rabies transmission.
Various factors can increase the risk of contracting rabies. These include traveling or living in developing countries where rabies is more common, including countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, engaging in activities that are likely to bring the individual into contact with wild animals at risk of rabies, such as exploring bat caves without taking precautions to keep wild animals out of the campsite. , working with rabies virus in the laboratory, having close contact with unrecognized animals, and head or neck wounds that can help the rabies virus reach the brain more quickly.
How to Prevent Rabies Disease ?
Individuals should first vaccinate their pets that have come into contact with rabid animals to reduce the risk of rabies. Pets such as cats or dogs can be vaccinated against rabies. Veterinarians will provide adequate information on how often animals should be vaccinated.
Pets should be kept indoors as much as possible and supervised throughout their stay outside. Contact between pets and wild animals should be avoided.
Small pets should be protected from predatory species. Small pets such as rabbits or hamsters should be kept in guarded cages and protected from wildlife. Unfortunately, such small pets cannot be vaccinated against rabies.
Local animal control officers and municipalities should be notified of their situation so that stray animals can be regularly checked and vaccinated.
People should stay away from wild animals and not approach them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. At first glance, wild animals under the influence of rabies may not seem afraid of humans. It is not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with humans, so it is necessary to stay away from animals that are not afraid.
It is necessary to keep bat species away from inhabited houses. All cracks and gaps where bats can enter the house should be sealed. Where this type of animal infestation is observed in the home, it is necessary to contact a local specialist or municipality to find ways to keep these animals out of the home.
Travelers should consider getting a rabies vaccine. Individuals traveling to a country where rabies cases are common should ask their doctor about the necessity of getting rabies vaccination if they are to stay there for an extended period of time. Individuals who will travel to areas where it is difficult to access medical care should also consider the same precautions.
What Are the Symptoms of Rabies Disease ?
The signs and symptoms of rabies may be similar to those of the flu and may persist for days. Signs and symptoms that occur after this initial stage include;
-excessive saliva production
-Change in sensation in the bitten area
-There is a feeling of fear developed against drinking liquids due to difficulty in swallowing and swallowing.
Individuals bitten by any animal should seek emergency medical attention under all circumstances, regardless of the risk of the animal becoming rabid. Depending on the individual's injuries and the situation in which exposure occurred, the medical professional providing the medical attention will decide how long to continue the appropriate treatment for rabies prevention.
As a more assured approach, the individual should seek medical help if they are unsure whether they have been bitten or not. For example, a bat or a mouse entering the room while sleeping may bite without waking the person. In such a case, the individual must assume that he or she has been bitten. If a child or an individual with a disability who is too young to report being bitten is found to be in a similar situation, it should be assumed that that individual has also been bitten. In such cases, the remaining pets should also be assumed to be bitten or infected.
How Is Rabies Diagnosed ?
There is no way to find out if an individual bitten by a rabid animal has been infected with the rabies virus before symptoms appear.
The appearance of rabies symptoms also means that it is too late. Therefore, if the doctor considers that the individual is likely to be exposed to the virus, he or she will administer the rabies vaccine as the appropriate treatment to the individual to prevent the spread of the rabies virus in the body.
In our country, it is obligatory to vaccinate against rabies to individuals who are at such risk. After starting the rabies vaccination, it is also mandatory to monitor the situation so that they are all completed.
How Is Rabies Treated ?
Once a rabies infection occurs, there is no effective treatment available against it. Although few people have ever recovered from rabies, the disease is most likely to cause death. Therefore, individuals who think you have been exposed to rabies should have a series of vaccinations to prevent the infection from settling.
Individuals bitten by an animal that is known to be rabid are given a series of vaccinations to prevent transmission of the rabies virus. In cases where the animal that bit the individual cannot be found, it is safest to assume that the animal has rabies. In each case this will depend on several factors, such as the type of animal and the situation in which the bite occurred. If an individual who is still receiving rabies vaccinations is bitten again, under normal circumstances the original vaccination schedule is maintained without change.
In the past, rabies vaccines had severe side effects. However, in today's rabies vaccines, these side effects have been reduced to a level that is almost non-existent.
The classic rabies vaccine teaches the body to recognize and fight the rabies virus. This vaccine is given as a single dose in the arm on the 0th day, the 3rd day, the 7th day, the 14th day, the 28th day and the 90th day. This schedule may differ, such as if the individual has had rabies before, or if the individual has been vaccinated as a precautionary measure instead of being bitten. Rabies antiserum is used in cases where there is a high risk of rabies, such as being bitten by an animal known to be rabid or at high risk.
Rabies vaccines include a mixture containing immunity against rabies as a type of fast-acting vaccine to prevent the virus from infecting the individual. A portion of this vaccine injection is given as soon as possible after the bite, if possible near the area where the animal bit the individual. In this way, the rabies virus can be destroyed before it has a chance to spread.
What Should Be Done After Animal Bite ?
Individuals who have been bitten by an animal should seek medical attention, except for the possibility of rabies. Immediately after the bite, the wound should be washed gently with soap and plenty of water. This can help clear the virus.
In the post-bite help process, the doctor will tell the individual about the situation, what the type of animal is, whether it is wild or domestic, who it belongs to, whether it is fully vaccinated, the behavior of the animal before being bitten, whether the animal bit without provocation and whether the animal was caught after the bite. It will ask a variety of questions to understand.
In some cases, it is possible to determine whether the animal that bit the individual had rabies before starting the rabies vaccine series or during the vaccination series. In this way, determining that the animal is healthy may eliminate the need to continue rabies vaccination.
Procedures for determining whether an animal has rabies vary from case to case. For example, it is possible to observe pets and livestock for 10 days to determine if they are showing signs and symptoms of rabies. If the animal that bit the individual remains healthy during the observation period, it can be determined that they are not rabid and the physician may decide that there is no need to continue the rabies vaccination. Other pets and farm animals that cannot be observed are evaluated according to the circumstances of the case.
If the bite was caused by a wild animal that can be found and captured, that animal can be tested for rabies. Tests in the animal's brain can detect the presence of the rabies virus. If the animal does not have rabies, the vaccines can be stopped with the decision of the doctor.
If the animal that bit the individual can be restrained or caught without causing further injury, it should be captured. It is necessary to avoid hitting or hitting the head with the animal, as the resulting injuries can make it difficult to perform laboratory tests to determine whether the animal has rabies.
In cases where the animal is not present, the individual should discuss the situation with their doctor or local health institutions. In almost every case, it is safest to assume that the animal is rabid and to continue with rabies vaccinations. In very rare cases, the biting animal may not be likely to have rabies and it may be determined that rabies vaccination is not necessary.