Thirty-seven persons in Tamil Nadu have been diagnosed with rabies in the last nineteen months, and all of them have perished. Nineteen died from the condition last year, and eighteen died in the last six months.
Rabies is a zoonotic viral illness spread by animals infected with the Rabies lyssavirus, such as dogs, cats, and bats. Humans become infected as a result of an animal bite, saliva, or scratch.
Though rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease, it can be lethal if proper precautions are not done in a timely manner. “Once clinical signs manifest, it is nearly 100% deadly,” according to the WHO. Domestic dogs are responsible for 99% of rabies virus transmission to humans.”
The illness is classified into three types according to its intensity and area of exposure. “If there is no bite or apparent wound on the skin, immediate and comprehensive washing of the area exposed with soap and running water for 15 minutes is all that is required,” explains Dr. Anusuya, Professor of Medicine at Madras Medical College. There is no need for vaccination. In the second group, urgent immunization is indicated in the event of a bite or scrape without bleeding. In the third group, serious wounds or many bites necessitate the injection of rabies immunoglobulin in addition to immunization.”
Anti-rabies vaccination is administered at 0, 3, 7, 28, and 90 days after exposure. Pre-exposure immunization may be given to veterinarians, laboratory workers, and others who are at high risk of developing the illness.
According to Saravan Bharathi, doctor of internal medicine and consultant at Dr. Mehta’s Hospitals in Chennai, there is no effective treatment for rabies. “There are no drugs to cure the disease once the symptoms arise, thus only vaccination can save one’s life.” It is critical to get vaccinated quickly after exposure, or even if one suspects he or she has been exposed because symptoms can appear anywhere between one week and one year following exposure. Rabies is a virus that infects the brain after traveling via the central nervous system. “If the cut is on the face or neck, the symptoms occur quite quickly; if it is on the legs or thighs, the symptoms may take some time to show,” adds Dr. Bharathi.
Hydrophobia is a common rabies symptom. “Throat muscle spasms make it difficult for patients to swallow even water.” Aerophobia, tiredness, and a burning feeling at the incision site are all possible symptoms. “It takes two to three days after the symptoms manifest until the patient falls from cardiorespiratory arrest,” explains Dr. Anusuya.
“People can utilize the anti-rabies vaccination accessible at the level of public health clinics in each neighborhood 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Dr. TS Selvavinayagam, director of public health. Although a vial containing 5 doses must be used within a day, we have directed our employees to utilize the vial even if it is just for one individual. The state has an adequate supply of the vaccination. Every institution guarantees that at least 10 doses of the vaccination are available every day.”
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