September 28, 2023 marks the 17th World Rabies Day. Rabies is a viral disease caused by the rabies virus, which can be spread through the saliva of sick animals, especially when they try to bite or lick wounds or mucous membranes.
What is rabies?
Rabies is an infectious disease caused by the rabies virus, which is mainly a disease of animals, mostly in carnivores such as dogs, wolves, cats, and occasionally transmitted to people. The virus is present in the brain of infected animals, eliminated by saliva, transmitted through bites, and has a 100% mortality rate. The incubation period (time from bite to onset) is generally 2-8 weeks, with more than a year rare. Who experts believe that the maximum incubation period for which there is clear evidence is six years.
Rabies prevention measures:
Once the rabies virus enters the human body, it travels up the nervous system and eventually reaches the brain. Once the virus has settled in the brain, there is no cure, so prevention is crucial. One important preventive measure is rabies vaccination.
However, in addition to vaccines, we can also assess whether patients are likely to be exposed to rabies virus by testing them for rabies antigen antibodies. An antigen-antibody test is a blood test that measures the presence of specific antibodies to the rabies virus in the body. The presence of these antibodies may indicate that an individual has been exposed to the virus and has developed an immune response.
If the antigenic antibody test results are positive, it means that the individual may have been exposed to the rabies virus and should seek immediate medical help and further diagnosis and treatment. Such tests are especially important for veterinarians, public health workers, and first responders who often come into contact with animals that may be carrying the virus.
Although antigenic antibody testing is important in diagnosing rabies, it is not a substitute for vaccines. A vaccine is the most effective way to prevent rabies because it stimulates the immune system to produce protective memory cells to prevent future infections. Therefore, even if a person’s body produces antibodies, vaccination should continue to ensure full protection.
On World Rabies Day, let us remember this important fact and prevent rabies through education, awareness and vaccination. Let’s work together to create a safer and healthier environment for our communities, our families and our pets.