World Rabies Day: An initiative towards Awareness with “Vaccinate to Eliminate”
An opportunity to unite as a community against a life-threatening disease, 28th September 2019, the date will be marked as the thirteenth world Rabies Day. The initiative is the first and only global platform that focuses on action towards the disease, including awareness, vaccination, and various other aspects. Various groups of people, NGOs, and governments connect and share their work across the world.
Rabies, a disease that has taken various lives especially India, has been however termed as the neglected disease as people tend to avoid the painful injections or due to some other reasons that will be discussed further. Like every year, World Rabies Day 2019 theme will be focused on vaccination, the foundation of all rabies control efforts. The theme, “Rabies: Vaccinate to Eliminate” will be used to raise awareness at many levels including awareness in the dog owners, the infected people to eliminate the deaths by the disease in 2030.
What is Rabies?
The rabies vaccine is synonymous to the animal bites which resulted in deaths until two people Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux developed the first cure or first vaccination in 1885. Rabies is a viral disease that transmits from animals to humans and other animals. Every warm-blooded animal can be the recipient to be infected buys it including humans. The virus has recently been adopted the ability to infect the cold-blooded animals as well but the effect is not fatal on them.
Who can give you Rabies?
Commonly associated with dog bites, various other animals can cause the infection to happen, including monkeys, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, coyotes, mongooses, bears, domestic farm animals, groundhogs, hares, rabbits, and small rodents such as chipmunks , gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, and squirrels.
What are the symptoms of rabies and why vaccination is essential?
Bitten or in contact with any of the above-mentioned animals who may carry the infection, one may not easily identify the symptoms as they tend to appear very slowly. It takes around two to three months for the first symptoms to appear in the human body.
As the disease spreads, the symptoms tend to get severe including the inflammation in the brain, partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, anger, paranoia, terror, hallucinations progressing to delirium and coma. Rabies is not only life-threatening but also a life deteriorating disease as it affects the quality of life through any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Vaccinations are the key to avoid the disease before it infects one or after one has been infected. Vaccinations help individuals who are likely to get infected with the disease to be immune before they are exposed to infected animals.
How you can prevent Rabies?
The process of prevention of the disease takes place with two major strategies including the dog vaccinations and the human vaccination. The dog vaccination interrupts the virus to get transmitted to humans while human vaccination follows a series of vaccinations before and after exposure.
Rabies vaccinations are like other vaccinations made from inactive cell cultures that have been extremely well tolerated and have no contraindications. The vaccination or prophylaxis (treatment or preventive actions for disease) in humans is further divided into two categories that Preventive Vaccinations or the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for rabies.
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
The preventive vaccination includes vaccination to those who are likely to expose to infect due to the frequent contact with rabies virus or possibly the rabies-infected animals. It includes the veterinarians, animal handler, rabies, laboratory workers, spelunkers, and rabies biologics production workers should be offered rabies vaccine.
The vaccination is given in 3 doses:
Dose 1: As appropriate
Dose 2: 7 days after Dose 1
Dose 3: 21 or 28 days after Dose 1
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
The individuals should get the PEP as soon as possible according to the WHO rabies exposure categories are:
Category I: Physical contact with the infected animals including touching or feeding animals, licks and intact skin.
Category II: Chewing of uncovered skin, minor scratches or abrasions without bleeding from the infected animals
Category III: Contamination of mucous membrane or broken skin with saliva from animal licks, along with scratches or bites exposures due to direct contact with bats.
PEP contains certain steps that should be performed as soon as one gets attacked by the animal:
Step 1: Wash the wounds or scratches thoroughly, flushing of the wound for approximately 15 minutes with soap or detergent and copious amounts of water. If available, iodine-contaminated or similarly biocidal, topical preparation should be applied to the wound.
Step 2: RIG (Rabies Immunoglobulin) is the passive immunization is applied to the category III and suturing should be performed ion the wounds that require suturing after the RIG.
Step 3: A series of vaccine injection should be administered promptly after exposure.