Rabies: Symptoms, Transmission, Types, Survival Rate|Why Is Rabies Vaccine Essential After A Dog Bite & What Are Its Side Effects?

What is Rabies?

Every animal lover in the world is well aware of rabies. Rabies is a disease usually caused when a dog bites you. Apart from all the injuries you might get from a dog bite, rabies is a viral disease that causes serious brain inflammation in humans. There is no cure, whatsoever, once the disease starts affecting your central nervous system and death is inevitable. The rabies virus can travel all the way to your central nervous system through the peripheral nerves.

What are the Symptoms of Rabies?

What are the Symptoms of Rabies?

There are a number of symptoms which indicate a person is suffering from rabies. However, if the symptoms start to develop one after the other, then no one can cure the rabies and death is inevitable. The symptoms of rabies majorly include fever, cringing whenever the wound is exposed, uncontrollable fear of water, euphoria, loss of consciousness, violent movements and a constant state of confusion.

What is Rabies Vaccine?

Rabies vaccine is very different from the normal injection. The major difference between rabies vaccine and other vaccines is that rabies vaccine usually consists of 3 to 5 injections instead of one shot of vaccine. The rabies vaccine is made up of rabies viruses that are not alive, which later produces antibodies to fight against the rabies in your system. Hence, the multiple shots that is given in rabies vaccine is to ensure that the number of the amount of antibodies is increasing so that it either fights against the living rabies virus or even if the virus is still in your system, these multiple shots of rabies vaccines ensures that the viruses are neutralized and can’t affect your system anymore.

How is Rabies Caused/Transmitted?

Rabies is a disease that can spread quite easily since it is transmitted through the saliva of the animal which is infected by rabies. Hence, biting is one of the major reason of the occurrence of this rabies. Other than that if your pet suffering from rabies scratches you or when your skin is wounded and if an infected animal licks the exposed wound then all this could lead to rabies.

What are the Types of Rabies?

Rabies is generally of two types which can be observed in the patients, mainly the critical rabies of which the symptoms largely include fluctuating consciousness, hydrophobia, excessive saliva secretion, photophobia, increase in the amount of sweat, aerophobia, etc.; and the second type of rabies is when the patient has paralysis, this type of rabies is also known as dumb rabies; and hydrophobia is not a symptom in this kind of rabies.

What Is The Survival Rate Of Rabies Patient?

It is highly recommended to everyone to get a doctor’s appointment after a dog bite and take the rabies vaccine. Since, the disease is not curable; however, it can be prevented through early precaution measures. A delay of maximum one to two days is acceptable, but if you further delay then rabies may spread rapidly and affect you majorly. It is known that a person who suffers from rabies usually dies in the end within a matter of time of about a week to more than a year after all the symptoms show up. The chances of whether a person will survive after he or she is affected by rabies is nil or very low after the symptoms of rabies start to show up; and it usually takes a period of time of a month to three, as soon as the brain or the spinal cord is affected by this virus, but the symptoms can also start appearing in 10 days or can take over a year. The survivors of rabies are as less as 10 which are documented. So, rabies vaccines should be considered as soon as possible to prevent the disease in the first place itself. PEP is highly recommended to the patients suffering from the disease. PEP is believed to be very effective and majorly fights against rabies.

Rabies Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

In the rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis, it usually consists of three shots of injection. The first injection and the second injection which is given within the following week and the third shot is given within 21 to 28 days after the first injection. The rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis is believed to be very effective, almost 100%. The rabies vaccine helps to stimulate antibodies to fight against the rabies viruses that majorly affect your central nervous system. Hence, rabies vaccine protects you from the virus when you get exposed to it. However, a booster shot is needed after a year and then it is advised to one again take booster shot after three to five years.

Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

Post-exposure prophylaxis consists of a series of three to five shots of injection which is given to you after the dog bites or scratches you. The doses are, however, given according to the seriousness of the disease by which you are prone to and or are affected with. These vaccines prevent the germs from spreading and stop the viruses to further affect your central nervous system. Blood tests helps you know your immunity to fight against the viruses that cause rabies.

When Should One Take Rabies Shot?

Rabies vaccine is advised to be taken by a patient who has a chance of suffering from rabies within 48 hours after the dog bite. A dog which was not vaccinated and dogs bites which were completely unprovoked creates a greater chance of causing rabies in human beings and mammals. If a dog bites you and the blood still doesn’t clot after fifteen minutes, it is advisable to seek doctor’s help as soon as possible to get the treatment done which will help in the prevention of rabies. The risk is at minimum if the rabies vaccine is taken within the first 8 hours after the bite. It reduces the chance of infection to the most. The skin warms up, and there is redness seen all around the area of the wound, there also might be pus like discharge from the bite along with an acute pain around the wounded skin. Rabies immunization is often paired up with tetanus immunization for best and effective results. In case of large, deep wounds, doctors prefers to stitch up those wounds, but some cuts are kept open for further examination of whether the patient might develop an infection later, and is hence treated accordingly. Rabies can easily be treated at home with the right treatment, but if the condition of the patient worsens then it is recommended the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately without any further delay.

What Are The Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccine?

People who are at greater risk of getting rabies are given the anti-rabies vaccination to prevent the rabies virus from spreading further and affecting the system of a person. Since, there is no particular cure found for rabies, the vaccines makes it sure that rabies is prevented in the first place itself. The injections are mainly given on the top muscle of your arm. Till now, there have no side effects seen after rabies vaccination; however, the skin appears to be red in place where the vaccine was given. There might be a slight rise of body temperature, muscle pain and cramps along with nausea. These effects are not long term and not severe. They go away within a particular amount of time.

Why Is Rabies Vaccine Essential After A Dog Bite?

It is very essential to take rabies vaccine after a dog bite, because it will decrease the chance of getting the infected by the deadly virus, which is a cause of many deaths all around the globe. Children are said to be more prone to be getting affected by rabies and if not treated properly, will die. People who work will animals that aren’t vaccinated have a higher risk of getting rabies, hence rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis is provided to people as a prevention measure from spreading the disease. People who are already infected by the rabies virus are; however, treated with rabies post-exposure prophylaxis to neutralize the viruses already present in your system. However, even if you have taken the rabies vaccination before the dog bites you, you will need to continue taking the rabies shots of infection to prevent it from spreading and affecting your system. Rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis makes sure that the virus can not affect your system at a very high rate and will need time to spread; and in the meanwhile the rabies vaccines are given to outnumber the living viruses in your body.

If you are bitten by a dog, it is advisable to take rabies vaccine as soon as possible and make an appointment for that. Since, the rabies can’t be cured, it is best to prevent it from affecting you.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 3, 2018

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