World Rabies Day is a day set aside to raise awareness about the need for rabies prevention. The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that there are 55,000 fatalities from rabies each year. This post will discuss what rabies is, what you can do to help prevent an animal from contracting this disease, and what to do if you or your pet have been bitten by a rabid animal.
What is Rabies
Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system of mammals, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.
Rabies can spread to people and pets if they are scratched or bitten by a rabid animal. Rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes in the United States. But in other parts of the world, rabies can be found in wild dogs and cats. Many of the human deaths of people in other parts of the world are from dog bites.
Rabies infects the central nervous system. If a person gets bit by a rabid animal, they must seek medical care immediately! Rabies cause disease in the brain and can result in death. Rabies can be prevented by keeping our pets vaccinated and staying away from wild animals.
The first step in preventing rabies is getting vaccinated against it. Puppies and kittens should get their first rabies shot between 16 and 18 weeks. Then again, between 12 and 16 months. And then they are required to keep getting the booster every 1 to 3 years for the rest of their lives and it is required by law in the United States.
If Bitten by a Rabid Animal
The key to fighting the virus is a quick response, whether human or four-legged.
If your fur-baby has been bitten by a rabid animal, vaccinations should start as soon as possible after exposure, ideally within 3 days but no later than 7 days after exposure. If you know your dog or cat has been bitten by a potentially infected animal, immediately take them to a veterinarian immediately! Call the vet before going so they can prepare for your arrival and make sure someone will be available when you get there.
If a human is bitten by a rabid animal, get to the emergency room as soon as possible! The period between the bite and the onset of symptoms is called the incubation period. It usually takes 3 weeks to 3 months for a person to develop rabies symptoms once they’ve contracted the infection.
The initial onset of rabies begins with flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle weakness, and tingling. You may also feel burning at the bite site.
As the virus continues to attack the central nervous system, there are two different types of the disease that can develop: furious rabies and paralytic rabies.
World Rabies Day is held every year on September 28. This date was chosen as it is the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur – the first person to successfully create a vaccine against rabies.
Collaboration is critical for success, and everyone is encouraged to take part. The only way that we can eliminate rabies and end the needless suffering is by working together and uniting towards a common goal – the goal of Zero by 30.