Rabies: The Facts

Today, rabies is getting well known in our country after several cases was reported regarding on rabies. In fact, the cases were the first rabies-related deaths in the country in almost 20 years said Malaysia’s Director General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah. Rabies causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and is almost always fatal once contracted, according to the World Health Organization.

From the Interim Guideline For Human Rabies Prevention & Control in Malaysia, rabies is a zoonotic disease or a disease that is transmitted to humans from animal that is caused by a virus. The disease infects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through close contact with infected saliva via bites or scratches. Rabies is present on all continents with the exception of Antartica, but more than 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa. Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is nearly always fatal. Rabies is widely distributed across the globe, with only a few countries (mainly islands and peninsulas) being free of the disease. Many animal species are involved in the maintenance and transmission of the disease in nature.

Recent The Star Report on Rabies victims succumbing to the infection in Sarawak.

The most feared complication of an animal bite is rabies, although skin infection is the most common complication. Some bite wounds can be serious, causing injury and permanent disability. Bite wounds to the hand carry an especially high risk for serious complications because the skin’s surface is so close to the underlying bones and joints.

Dog bites are traumatic and dangerous events, representing a high probability of infection especially if the bite goes untreated. A dog’s saliva has a broad diversity of bacteria. In almost 100% of dog bites, harmful bacteria and other dangerous pathogens are present and can be transmitted to the bite wound. Signs that a dog bite has become infected include redness, pain and oozing. Generally, the management of dog bites depends on the location of the bite, the overall health condition of the bitten person and whether or not the dog is vaccinated against rabies. Most dog bite wounds can be managed in the general practice setting. However, it is important to recognize when a wound is at high risk of infection and when referral to hospital is required.

If a person is bitten by a dog, you can treat the wound with local treatment before seek immediate medical care. What you can do is removing the rabies virus at the site of the infection by chemical or physical means is an effective means of protection. Therefore, prompt local treatment of all bite wounds and scratches that may be contaminated with rabies virus is important. Recommended first-aid procedures include immediate and thorough flushing and washing of the wound for a minimum of 15 minutes with soap and water, detergent, povidone iodine or other substances that kill the rabies virus.

It is easy on how to prevent rabies transmission from dogs. All you need to know is learn dog body language and also raise public awareness, ‘No dog bite = no rabies’ and not by killing all the innocent dogs.

Leave a Reply