Eradicating killer disease, Rabies | Daily News

Eradicating killer disease, Rabies

World Rabies Day was on September 28 and it is important to educate people to prevent Rabies in Sri Lanka. Rabies is one of the neglected tropical diseases that predominantly affect poor and vulnerable populations who live in remote rural locations.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms. In up to 99 per cent of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans. Yet, rabies can affect both domestic and wild animals. It is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.

Rabies is present on all continents, except Antarctica, with over 95 per cent of human deaths occurring in the Asia and Africa regions. Most of the time children between the ages of 5–14 years are frequent victims. Every year, more than 29 million people worldwide receive a post-bite vaccination. This is estimated to prevent hundreds of thousands of rabies deaths annually.

Transmission to human

People are usually infected following a deep bite or scratch from an animal with rabies, saliva comes into direct contact with human mucosa or fresh skin wounds, exposure to foxes, raccoons, skunks, jackals, mongooses and other wild carnivore host species are very rare, Contraction of rabies through inhalation of virus-containing aerosols or through transplantation of infected organs is rare.

Signs

Initially, a dog show extreme behavioral changes such as restlessness or apprehension, both of which may be compounded by aggression. Friendly dogs may become irritable, while normally excitable animals may become more docile. A dog may bite or snap at any form of stimulus, attacking other animals, humans and even inanimate objects. They may constantly lick, bite and chew at the site where they were bitten. A fever may also be present at this stage.

As the virus progresses, an infected dog may become hypersensitive to touch, light and sound. They may eat unusual things and hide in dark places. Paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles may follow, resulting in the well-known symptom of foaming at the mouth. Disorientation, in coordination and staggering may occur, caused by paralysis of the hind legs. Other classic signs of rabies include loss of appetite, weakness, seizures and sudden death.

Treatment

There is no treatment or cure for rabies once symptoms appear. Since rabies presents a serious public health threat, dogs that are suspected of having the virus are most often euthanized.

Prevention

Keeping your dog up to date with vaccinations is not only essential to prevention also avoiding contact with wild animals is also necessary to prevention. You should not dump unwanted animals in the roads as it may ended up as a stray dog which and spread rabies. Sterilize the bitch if you don’t want puppies.

Vaccination for pets

If the puppy is taken from a vaccinated bitch the puppy should be vaccinated at the age of six weeks, 14 weeks from first vaccine and annually.

If the puppy is taken from unvaccinated bitch the puppy should be vaccinated as soon as possible, 14 weeks from first vaccine and annually. If the puppy is taken roadside the puppy should be vaccinated as soon as possible, 10 weeks from first vaccine and annually.

Vaccination can be done by Government Veterinary Surgeon’s Office and Municipal Council Veterinary Department by free of charge. It is our responsibility to eradicate Rabies by 2030!


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