TOP 10 MOST DANGEROUS VIRUSES

#5

RABIES VIRUS

The rabies virus is bullet shaped RNA virus under the family Rhabdoviridae, and Mononegavirales order. It is a very deadly virus, with a 100% mortality if left untreated. Generally, rabies is rare disease now, since the introduction of vaccines in the 1920’s, however it remains a big problem in certain areas of Africa and India.

 

TRANSMISSION

The virus is usually gotten from the bite of rabid animals (bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, dogs) or humans.

 

SIGNS/SYMPTOMS

There is usually an incubation period after a bite which can range from weeks to months, depending on site of bite and the host immune capability. During this time, the virus travels gradually from the bite site to brain, where it causes severe, and usually fatal damage to the central nervous system.

The early nonspecific symptoms may include;

  • Fever,
  • Headache,
  • Weakness,

usually lasting for days.

Then acute symptoms of cerebral dysfunction including;

  • Anxiety,
  • Confusion,
  • Agitation,
  • Hallucinations,
  • Hydrophobia,
  • Insomnia,
  • Delirium,
  • Abnormal Behavior.

 This period usually lasts 2 to 10 days.

Once the clinical symptoms have started, the disease is almost always fatal, with less than 20 recoveries till date recorded for people with symptomatic disease over the years. Also most people that survived has received a vaccination before the onset of disease.

DIAGNOSIS

  1. This is usually done by direct fluorescent antibody test of the animal brain tissue
  2. Or several reverse transcriptase PCR tests from samples collected from the individual’s saliva, serum, spinal fluid, skin and hair follicles at the nape of the neck.

 

PREVENTION

  1. Vaccination of dogs and other pets
  2. Pre-exposure vaccination of those at risk (vertinary doctors, those that work with rabies in labs, etc.)
  3. STAY AWAY FROM WILDLIFE
  4. REPORT ANY ANIMAL BEHAVING ABNORMALLY

 

 

MANAGEMENT

 

 

This involves;

  1. Giving rabies immunoglobulin as soon as possible, close to the bite site
  2. Giving post exposure rabies vaccination on days, 0, 3, 7, 14 and 28
  3. Checking the serum of the vaccine recipient to see if there is adequate antibody response.
  4. Other supportive measures.

 

 

 

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