Dog or cat bite can transmit rabies

Rabies is a viral infection of the brain that causes irritation and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

The transmission of rabies occurs through the bite of an animal infected with the virus of the disease because this virus is present in the saliva of infected animals, and although it is extremely rare, rabies can also be acquired through breathing the infected air.

Although dogs are often the source of infection, cats, bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and other animals can also be responsible for transmitting rabies.

Symptoms of anger

In most cases, the symptoms of rabies begin with a short period of mental depression, restlessness, feeling unwell and fever, but in some cases rabies begins with paralysis of the lower limbs that extends throughout the body.

The agitation increases to uncontrollable excitement and the individual produces a large amount of saliva. Spasms of the muscles in the throat and the vocal tract can be extremely painful.

Symptoms usually begin 30 to 50 days after infection, but the incubation period varies from 10 days to more than a year. The incubation period is usually shorter in individuals who have been bitten on the head or trunk or have suffered many bites.

Treatment for rabies

The immediate treatment of a wound produced by an animal's bite is the best preventive measure. The contaminated area must be thoroughly cleaned with soap, even when the individual who has been bitten has already been vaccinated, and the risk of contracting rabies is less, as there is no specific treatment for rabies.

How to protect yourself

The best way to protect yourself from rabies is to avoid animal bites, but the most important thing is that all animals get the rabies vaccine in vaccination campaigns offered by the Brazilian government.

Vaccination provides some degree of permanent protection to most individuals, but antibody concentrations decrease over time and individuals at high risk of new exposures should receive a booster vaccine every 2 years, but after symptoms have manifested, no vaccine or immunoglobulin against rabies appears to have an effect.

When an individual is bitten by an animal and has symptoms of encephalitis, which is a progressive inflammation of the brain, the likely cause is rabies. A skin biopsy can reveal the virus.