World Rabies Day –September 28, creating better awareness about rabies

Rabies is 100% fatal and the time taken for the full manifestation of the disease varies from a few weeks to a year.

September 28 is observed the world over as World Rabies Day. The world is presently facing a COVID-19 pandemic and other health issues have often been trivialized and get pushed in the background. Today is World Rabies Day and rabies vaccines for animals and post Prophylaxis treatment for humans also face the same uphill task faced by health workers who are presently involved in COVID-19 vaccination programs.

Rabies is 100% fatal, Rabies is 100% preventable

More than Rabies it is the myth associated with the disease which is more dangerous. Ignorance about the disease is also dangerous. It must be understood that Rabies is 100% fatal. If a person gets rabies he is going to die. However, another fact about the disease is that it is 100% preventable. Herein lays the tragedy.

Loius Pasteur gave the world the first Anti-rabies vaccine

In India, most pets are seldom vaccinated. The focus is more on the treatment after being bitten by a dog or any animal which has got the potential to spread Rabies. The first vaccine for rabies was developed in 1885 by Louis Pasteur who prepared the vaccine from infected nerve tissues of rabbits. This method is still in use in many third world countries to prepare vaccines for rabies. However, today vaccines are derived from chicken embryo cell vaccine and purified Vero cell rabies vaccine. These vaccines are cheaper and there is the lesser adverse reaction after administration.

Rabies is 100% fatal and the time taken for the full manifestation of the disease varies from a few weeks to a year. The earlier the victim is given the Rabies vaccine the better it is and the higher the chances of recovery. The virus first attaches to the peripheral nervous system and then travels to the Central Nervous System which includes the brain. If the virus infects the brain, the results are 100% fatal. It must be understood that once the virus infects the brain even the vaccine cannot save the victim. Hence it is very important to get vaccinated as soon as you are bitten by a suspected rabid animal.

Rabies cases are on the rise in India primarily because of an increase in the population of stray dogs and other animals. The onus on controlling the population of dogs often falls on the local administration. Conducting vasectomy is a viable option to control the population of stray dogs. However, most local bodies do not have the adequate budget for this and instead resort to killing these animals which is cruel and also unethical.

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