Sunday, 27 September 2009

World Rabies Day '09

September 28th is World Rabies Day Organisations around the world will be aiming to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention on the third annual World Rabies Day on 28 September.

Having had to go through the injections after my brush with a bat in UK behaving strangely that l was handling at work, there is rabies in some bats in the UK, and seen a dog shot back in Rhodesia when l was growing up. The dog was unknown on the tea plantation and so it’s was a risk. I am aware of the risks involved with rabies and they scare me.

What shocked me was the statistics of human deaths over 55000/year. At least 100 of the 150+ death a day are children.
Here are some personal stories of those who have had contact with rabies some died and others survived after post exposure treatment.

The following is from the BVA website.

“While we are used to discussing the risks of rabies to pets, most vets probably know much less about the risks of rabies to humans,” says Zoe Belshaw, a member of the BVA Overseas Group. “World Rabies Day is an ideal time to promote understanding of this devastating but preventable disease.”
It aims to dispel some common misconceptions – such as that a deep bite is necessary for the disease to be contracted. ‘A lick on broken skin or mucous membranes or a scratch from an infected animal is sufficient,’ it points out.

Rabies kills at least 55,000 people each year, half of whom are children under the age of 15. “Rabies is primarily a disease of children, who are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source,” said Dr Deborah Briggs, Executive Director of the Alliance for Rabies Control. “Children are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. Children are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick or scratch has occurred from an infected animal.” Many animals carry rabies not just dogs but it is dogs that people tend to focus on.

The World Rabies Day Alliance for Rabies Control initiative aims to bring together relevant partners in an effort to address rabies prevention and control. “This is a coordinated effort to let the world know that this disease can be readily prevented through education, pet vaccination and increased human awareness of proper wound management and administration of rabies vaccination after an exposure has occurred,” added Dr Briggs.

Very scary just how prevalent rabies is. The sites give info on how to deal with suspected contact and on just how it affects lives daily around the world. If you do not get post exposure treatment, rabies has a single outcome once it has manifested, and to get there is hell.

Remember that your family and friends are often jetting off to affected countries on trips and volunteer programmes, it may just affect you.

The gentleman depicted died from rabies in 1959, soon after the photo (courtesy of US CDC ) was taken.


Roses said...

Thank you for posting on rabies. It was informative and thought provoking.

It is appalling that people die due to carelessness in the part of the owners of the infected animals, and from not being able to afford the treatment.

Vetnurse said...

Yes to lack of money for vaccinations but when you barely have money to live very often the "pet" may have to scavenge for itself.
I realise that in the scheme of things rabies is a small time killer, but with the others even HIV you have more of a chance than with rabies, that is what makes it so scary.

There is a hell of a range of animals that are carriers it is just the dog is most common and the one concentrated.

I read somewhere that 1 rabid animal can infect over 100 others [any mammal species], not sure where l read that though.

In the stories link the child even attacked her own father, the father though was treated. Then there was the hyena that attacked someone.

Then there is cats even rabid cows and horses are reported. I remember reading about a vet trapped up a tree by a rabid cow, think it was one of the zoovet books.

JuliaM said...

Is it still true that only one person has ever survived full-blown rabies?

Vetnurse said...

Yup this is the story