Fact vs. Fiction about Rabies from a Guthrie vet

Guthrie vet states the facts about Rabies.

Guthrie vet

 

This week’s article is brought to you by The Crazies.  The Crazies is an action packed, scary movie about a town that has been contaminated by Rabies.  The people in the town begin to develop symptoms and start killing one another.  In this week’s blog a Guthrie vet lists the top three misconceptions about Rabies that they used in this movie.

1.     Rabies is an airborne or water contagion.

Actually, Rabies is a contagious disease but is primarily transmitted from an infected animal via bite wounds.  Raccoons are the most common animal to be infected with Rabies in the United States.  Bats are the most common animal responsible for transmission to people in the United States.  Cats are the most common domestic animal infected with rabies in the United States but dogs are the most common world wide states a Guthrie vet.

2.     Symptoms include bloody nose and zombie-like activity.

Actually, many people associate Rabies with frothing from the mouth.  Although this is a symptom that can be seen, it is rare.  A Guthrie vet says symptoms in animals are usually a change in behavior, such as seeing a wild animal out during the day and being friendly.  Animals with Rabies can also appear sick, crazed or vicious.  Symptoms in people starts with pain and tingling at the bite wound and slowly progresses to fever, confusion, agitation and eventually death.

3.     Treatment involves shooting the infected person in the head.

Actually, treatment must be started before symptoms appear, which can occur from 10 to 60 days after the bite wound.   Immediate wound cleaning and treatment is very important.  A one-time injection of human rabies immune- globulin (or HRIG) provides rapid, short-term protection against rabies.  Long term protection is provided through a series of vaccines.

If you or your pet has been attacked by an animal that you think might have Rabies DO NOT shoot the animal in the head.  The only way to test for Rabies is to identify the virus in the brain tissue of the infected animal.  A Guthrie vet should remove the head and send it to your state health department.

Remember–Rabies is a virus that can affect any mammal and is 100% fatal once symptoms begin to develop.  Rabies, in humans, is rare in the U.S., with only 27 cases occurring since 1990.  Although rabies in humans is very rare in the United States, between 16,000 and 39,000 people receive preventive medical treatment each year after being exposed to a potentially rabid animal.

Anant N S (www.thelensor.tumblr.com) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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