World Rabies Day, celebrated every year on 28th September, is a day dedicated towards raising awareness, preventing and controlling the spread of rabies. It is an attempt to unite the world in the fight against rabies. This year the theme of the event is “Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate”.
Rabies is a fatal disease that affects the human brain and causes thousands of deaths annually. According to World Health Organization (WHO), one person in every ten minutes dies from rabies every year. More than 95 percent deaths caused due to rabies occur in Asia and Africa. Children being more susceptible to dog bites are at higher risk of getting infected with rabies. It is estimated that every four out of ten deaths occur in children under the age of 15.
In India alone, more than 30,000 victims die of rabies every year as per National Center for Disease Control. It has been found that 97% of the people are bitten by dogs and only 3% people are bitten by other animals (cats, jackals, mongoose, rats, etc).
Rabies is a viral disease caused by lyssavirus. The virus is transmitted from animals to humans through wounds or scratches or by direct contact with mucosal surfaces of an infected animal (eg, bites). It cannot spread through uninjured or intact surfaces of human body. After the virus comes in contact with the human skin or muscle, it progresses towards the spinal cord and brain. The infected person starts showing signs and symptoms after the virus reaches the brain.
Although rabies is fatal, yet it is a 100% vaccine preventable disease. Some of the steps that should be followed in order to prevent rabies are as follows:
Keeping the fatality of the disease in mind, let us all join the global fight against rabies on this Word Rabies Day and contribute in eradicating this vulnerable disease.
Symptoms experienced by rabies infected persons
Tips for pet lovers
FAQs on Rabies
Q What is Rabies?
Rabies is a fatal disease that is caused by dogs or other animals and affects the brain of the infected individuals.
Q Is rabies always fatal?
The disease has been known to be almost 100% fatal throughout the world with no specific treatment being available for curing rabies.
Q Is there any vaccination to prevent rabies prior to its exposure?
Yes. The prophylaxis is given in form of three injections administered on days 0, 7 followed by the last injection on 21st or 28th day of the animal bite.
Q What should I do in case of an animal bite?
In case of an animal bite, one should follow the below mentioned steps.
Wash the wound and flush it immediately with soap and water for 10-15 minutes. In case soap is not available, use water to flush your wound. For cleansing the wound, you can also use 70 percent alcohol/ethanol or povidone-iodine. Visit a doctor at the earliest possible.
Q When should I take anti-rabies immunization?
You should start anti-rabies immunization immediately after being bitten or scratched by an animal in case the animal is stray or is symptomatic/diagnosed of rabies.
Q Can Rabies vaccine be given to a pregnant or lactating mother in case of an animal bite?
Yes. The vaccine can be safely administered to a pregnant or lactating mother as it has no adverse effects on the development of fetus/infant.
Q If I have a pet dog, is it necessary for me to get it vaccinated against rabies?
Yes. Prevention is always better than cure. Getting your dog vaccinated is beneficial for your dog as well as your family.