Rabies is a disease that is transmitted to humans from animals, also called zoonotic disease. It is caused by virus. The disease infects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through close contact with infected saliva via bites or scratches. Dogs are the source of 99% of human rabies deaths. Some symptoms of rabies virus are headache, fever, sore throat, nervousness, confusion, pain or tingling at the site of the bite, hallucinations, hydrophobia, paralysis, and coma. Once the symptoms of disease develop, rabies is always fatal.
There are some stages of rabies infection; non-specific prodrome, acute neurologic encephalitis, coma and death. In non-specific prodrome stage, symptoms are fever, headache, vomiting, depression, agitation and pain or tingling sensation at bitten site etc. neurologic phase is segmented into encephalitic rabies and paralytic rabies. Symptoms of encephalitic rabies are irritability, cough, autonomic dysfunction and altered mental status. Symptoms of paralytic rabies are sensation disturbances, presence of bladder dysfunction and persistent fever coinciding with limb weakness.
Rabies virus is classified into two types; street virus and fixed virus. The virus recovered from naturally occurring cases of rabies is called street virus and its incubation period is long i.e. 20 to 60 days. It is pathogenic for all mammals. The virus which has a short, fixed and reproducible incubation period (4-6 days) is called fixed virus. It can pathogenic for humans under certain conditions.
According to study, “Rabies Global Clinical Trials Review, H1, 2018” some strains of fixed virus vaccines are Pasteur virus strain (PV), PV-12, challenge virus strain (CVS)-11, low egg passage (LEP), high egg passage (HEP), Kelev, Evelyn rokitnikiabelseth (ERA) and Pitman-Moore (PM) strain.
Rabies virus is generally fatal; there are no medications that can provide help. As soon as a bite is received, a series of shots be prescribed to prevent the virus from thriving. The shots include; a fast-acting shot consisting of rabies immune globulin; this prevents the virus from infecting the individual and is delivered as soon as possible, close to the bite wound. Other shot include a series of rabies vaccines to train body to fight the virus whenever it finds it.
There are a number of vaccines available that are both safe and effective. They can be used to prevent rabies before and for a period of time after exposure to the virus such as by a dog or bat bite. It can be different types such as nerve tissue vaccines, duck embryo vaccine and modern tissue/cell culture vaccine. It is one of the neglected tropical diseases that predominantly affect poor and vulnerable populations. Although effective human vaccines and immunoglobulins exist for rabies, they are not readily available or accessible to those in need.
Rabies vaccines are preventable viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries and territories. In up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans.
World health organization, food and agriculture organization, international organization for animal health and the global alliance for rabies control are responsible to adopt a common strategy to achieve “Zero human Rabies deaths by 2030”. This initiative marks the first time that both the human and animal health sectors have come together to advocate for, and prioritize investments in rabies control and coordinate the global rabies-elimination efforts. The global strategic plan to end human deaths from dog-medicated rabies by 2030 formulated by the United Against Rabies will guide and support countries as they develop and implement their national rabies elimination plans that embrace the concepts of one-health and cross-sectorial collaboration.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications