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Why most Rabies deaths occur in India?

Dr D K Gupta

Many cases of rabies are seen in India and 36% of the total deaths due to rabies in the world occur in India. Rabies causes 18000-20000 deaths every year. Approximately 30–60% of rabies cases and deaths reported in India involve children under 15 years of age, as bite marks in children often go unrecognized and unreported. Dogs are responsible for about 97% of human rabies cases in India, followed by cats (2%), jackals, mongoose and others (1%). The disease is endemic throughout the country.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus called rabies. It is mainly a disease of animals, but it is also transmitted to humans by infected animals. This virus remains in the saliva of infected animals and when an animal bites a human, this virus is transmitted to humans. It is also possible that infected saliva can cause infection through someone’s eyes, mouth, or open wound.

Which animals spread rabies?

Rabies disease is spread to humans by the bite of dogs, monkeys and cats. Usually this disease spreads in humans due to dog bites.

How does rabies spread?

Rabies infection is spread by the bite of an animal infected with rabies. In most cases, this disease also occurs in humans by dog ​​bite or scratch (more than 90 percent).

What are the main symptoms of Rabies disease?

Symptoms of rabies disease start appearing after the bite of infected animals or in a few days, but in most cases it takes several days to many years for the symptoms of the disease to appear. A special symptom of rabies disease is when animals bite, there is a feeling of tingling in the muscles around that place. After viral diseases reach the body, the virus reaches the brain through the nerves and symptoms like pain, tiredness, fever, stiffness in the muscles, irritation may appear. Besides these, weakness and paralysis, more production of saliva and tears, irritation due to bright light and sound, difficulty in speaking may also be seen.

When the infection becomes too much and reaches the nerves, then symptoms  like seeing all the things  in two, difficulty in moving the muscles of the mouth, foaming in the mouth, more production of saliva may be noticed.

What is the treatment for rabies?

There is no cure for rabies once infection takes hold. Although some have managed to survive, the disease usually results in death. If you think you have been exposed to rabies, you should get a series of vaccines to prevent the disease from becoming fatal.

What precautions should be taken by those who have pets or dogs at home?

To raise any animal, the most important thing is its food and the environment given to it, so that your pet does not make anyone its victim. The first and most important thing after adopting any animal is vaccination, so that there is no serious problem if your pet bites accidentally or intentionally while playing with a member of the house or a person coming from outside. If the vaccination of the animal is done on time, then you can be almost safe from diseases like rabies.

What to do if a dog bites?

Whenever a dog bites, that place should be thoroughly washed with detergent soap like Rin or Surf Excel soap. If the wound is very deep then first wash this area with soap and then apply Betadine ointment. Due to this, the effect of rabies virus decreases slightly. But it is necessary to clean it thoroughly.

Along with this, rabies vaccine, antibodies and tetanus injection should be given in case of dog bite.

When to get the injection?

Within 24 hours you should take the complete course of rabies vaccine and its 4-5 doses. Usually, 5 injections are required after a dog bite. For this, the first shot should be taken within 24 hours.

After this, the next shot should be taken on the third day, seventh day, 14th day and finally on the 28th day. Immunoglobulin should be given to the bitten body part within 48 hours. If the injection is not given on time, one may have to face many problems.

Dr D K Gupta, Chairman – Felix Hospital

Doctors say that after a dog bite, first aid should be taken immediately. If there is no wound on the bitten area, wash the area with warm water and soap. You can also apply antibacterial lotion as a precaution. If there is a wound after the bite, then after washing that area, apply some antiseptic and immediately go to the hospital for rabies injection.

What should not be done if dog bites?

Keep in mind that after a dog bite, a bandage should not be tied on the wound. Avoid applying oil, turmeric or any household item on the wound. After washing the wound, contact a doctor immediately. So that the doctor can treat it based on its severity.

Remember that ending the spread of rabies is a collaborative effort that requires the involvement of individuals, communities, governments, and organizations. By taking these steps and promoting rabies awareness, you can contribute to a safer and healthier environment for both humans and animals.

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