I was swatting mosquitoes the other day in the garden with an electric racket. Bronson, our 5-year old APT probably thought that I was playing with him that he jumped and accidentally scratched my arm. It was so quick and I didn't see it happen. I thought he bit me but the houseboy said that it was Bronson's nail. Thankfully, there was no open wound. I'm so scared of getting rabies! My paranoia of getting rabies led me to do some research on it.
Rabies is a viral infection that is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Dogs are not the only animals that can be infected but also included are cats, bats, mice, and the like. Once infected, the rabies virus directly affects the nervous system and can even cause death when left untreated.
Symptoms of rabies include drooling, convulsions, restlessness, numbness, low grade fever, and difficulty in swallowing. Incubation period is usually from 7 days to 10 years so some people who are bitten sometimes think they're safe from rabies only to experience symptoms years after the biting incident.
Rabies can be prevented by having your pets undergo immunization. Somehow, I'm confident that both Bronson and Musmos (our Aspin) are both rabies-free and their immunizations are updated. Still, no one's safe from stray dogs and cats and also from the animals in the wild.
To be on the safe side, victims of animal bites should be administered a preventive vaccine as soon as possible. I remember when my nephew, Clyde, was 2 years old and was bitten by a puppy. He was immediately injected with human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG). Then, we had to go back a couple of to the hospital for a series of vaccines to combat the virus. The puppy did not have a rabies vaccine yet so we knew that the chances for infection are quite high. Thankfully, the boy is safe and rabies-free thanks to the vaccine he got. I think it's safer to have your pet dog sleep in a cage or in a large dog bed in a separate room away from kids.
In developed countries, rabies has been totally eradicated. Sadly, this is still not true for the Philippines. We even have special health centers spread across the country just to treat animal bite victims. I hope that pet owners would be more responsible to have their pets vaccinated as early as possible to orevent the possible spread of rabies.
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