World Rabies Day: Can rabies be cured? Symptoms and stages of infection Health

World Rabies Day is observed every year on 28 September to bring awareness about the world’s deadliest infectious disease. Rabies is a deadly viral infection spread by the bite of infected animals such as stray dogs, coyotes, foxes, bats, etc. It is very important to get vaccinated immediately after possible exposure to prevent rabies because once symptoms start appearing, it becomes fatal and in most cases leads to death. Symptoms begin with fever and headache, and progress to hallucinations, confusion, fear of water, paralysis, and eventually coma. One should be very careful when touching or feeding wild animals or pets such as dogs or cats. It is very important to vaccinate your pet to protect it from infection and in turn to protect itself. (Also read: Post-Covid, more dog owners are questioning vaccines like rabies)

It is very important to get vaccinated immediately after possible exposure to prevent rabies as it can be fatal once symptoms start appearing, (Freepik)

“Rabies is a fatal viral infection that affects humans and animals, spread primarily through the saliva of infected animals, usually through bites. Unfortunately, once clinical symptoms appear, Rabies is almost always fatal, and there is no known cure,” says. Dr. Aniket Mulay, Consultant Internal Medicine, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road.

stages of rabies

In humans, the disease progresses in different stages. From relatively mild symptoms, the disease eventually affects the patient severely, leading to respiratory failure and death.

“The incubation period, which can vary from days to years, marks the time between initial infection and the onset of symptoms. After this, the prodromal phase emerges, which includes early, flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and site Discomfort occurs on the lesion. This phase lasts only a few days, leading to the acute neurological phase, which is the most severe phase. During this phase, individuals have confusion, hallucinations, agitation, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Symptoms like these appear, which often progress to paralysis,” says Dr. Mulley.

Dr. Mulay says that once these neurological symptoms appear, the disease becomes almost incurable, with death as the inevitable result.

What happens in the last stages of rabies?

“In the final stages, victims may fall into a coma, eventually succumbing to respiratory failure. Preventive measures, including immediate vaccination after potential exposure, are the most effective means of fighting rabies and saving lives. Vigilance and prompt action in areas where Paramount is that rabies remains prevalent, as this disease demands active prevention,” concludes the expert.

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