What is Rabies?

The World Health Organization observes 28 Sep as World Rabies Day to raise awareness about rabies and its prevention. Rabies is caused by the rabies virus and transmitted from the saliva of infected animals to humans. However, it can be prevented by the use of a vaccine. Yet it causes thousands of deaths every year, mostly among poor, low-resource communities and particularly children below the age of 15 years.

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The animals most likely to transmit rabies virus are cats, cows, dogs, goats, horses, bats, and monkeys.

Early symptoms of rabies are similar to flu symptoms and may last for several days. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, hyperactivity, difficulty in swallowing, excessive salivation, insomnia, and partial paralysis.

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Tips for prevention

• Vaccinate pets against rabies. If your pet bites a person, consult the veterinarian immediately.

* Ensure pets don't come in contact with wild animals.

*Avoid direct contact with animals other than pets, dead or alive. Never touch them with bare hands. If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call the local animal care agency.

*Report stray animals to local authorities.

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*Seal gaps so that bats can't enter the home

*See that trash bins have lids that are locked. Don't leave bags of garbage outside the cans.

*Seek immediate medical care if bitten by any animal. Even if you aren't fully sure whether you've been bitten, see a doctor.

*Educate children and make sure they learn some basic rules about protecting themselves from strange or unfamiliar animals on the streets.

*Speak to your doctor about preventive vaccination.