Rabies is an uncommon but severe viral disease that affects the brain and nerves. The infection is often transmitted through a bite or scratch of an infected animal, mostly dogs.
It’s recommendable to consider a rabies vaccination in case you are traveling anywhere in the world where rabies is common, and:
- Planning for a month’s trip
- Less likely to access an appropriate medical care
- Planning activities that can increase the risk of you getting rabies
Even vaccinated, you need to be more precautious to avoid contact with rabies while traveling to an area where rabies is widespread. Try to get medical advice immediately if you have scratched or bitten.
Rabies is common in?
All mammals, including a monkey, can be a carrier of rabies, but it’s more common among:
Avoid contact with animals with any infection, dead, or wounded animals if you are not a professional. Rabies will not spread through unbroken skin.
With no treatment, the signs of rabies will start after 3–12 weeks, or much sooner or later after the incident. The starting signs are:
- High temperature
- Discomfort at the bite site
Symptoms over the days are more likely to be:
- Aggressive or confused behavior
- Hearing or seeing things
- Producing too much saliva
- Muscle spasms
- Hard to swallow or breath
- Unable to move or paralysis
If you have got licked, scratched, or bitten by an animal that may have rabies, you need to seek medical treatment that stops you from getting rabies; this is known as post-exposure treatment.
Post-exposure treatment is mainly:
- Disinfecting and cleaning the wound
- Rabies vaccination
- Medicine around the wound
The treatment should start ideally within a few hours of the incident, and the treatment may vary if you have a weak immune system.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022