People should seek immediate treatment by a doctor after a bite or contact with an infected animal. The sooner treatment is started, the more likely a person will avoid developing the disease. Once symptoms appear, the rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin are not effective and death is almost certain. Rabies is a disease that must be reported to the authorities by law in Canada.
The most common treatment of rabies is with postexposure prophylaxis. The first step in treating rabies and to reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms is to wash the wound with soap and water.
The next critical step to prevent rabies includes a dose of immunoglobulin against the rabies virus followed by a strict schedule of injections of the rabies vaccine. The immunoglobulin provides immediate protection against the virus to "bridge the gap" until the vaccine starts working. The vaccine helps the person's immune system produce antibodies against the potentially lethal virus. The vaccine protects individuals for approximately 2 years.
People such as veterinarians or cattle farmers who work with potentially infected animals or humans need to be vaccinated against rabies. They will also have periodic blood tests to see whether they need booster shots of the rabies vaccine.
You can prevent being infected with the rabies virus by remembering these tips:
- do not feed wild animals and stay at a safe distance when observing them
- supervise children and teach them not to approach or touch animals they do not know
- stay away from animals showing signs of rabies
- do not bring home wild animals
- if you suspect an animal is rabid, stay away from it and contact the local authorities
- if you have pets or livestock, make sure to vaccinate them against rabies
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Rabies