Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dog Strain Rabies Eliminated In the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the elimination of the type of rabies previously found in dogs in the United States. This does not mean that all rabies has been eliminated or that dogs should stop being vaccinated. Animals in the wild such as bats, skunks, and raccoons carry rabies and can infect dogs and humans. However, this is a public health success story which reflects the efforts of many in the implementation of dog vaccination and licensing, and stray dog control.

Rabies is a viral disease that reportedly kills 55,000 people globally every year. Infection is usually through a bite (saliva)from the rabid animal. The virus infects the nervous system and causes encephalopathy (swelling of the brain) which leads to death. The incubation period in humans is typically one to three months, and possibly up to one year or more. Symptoms include fever and headache followed by insomnia, agitation, confusion, paralysis, hallucinations, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Once symptoms appear, death usually follows a few days later. It can be prevented with a vaccine but once symptoms emerge it is too late and death is inevitable as the disease is almost impossible to treat.


References: Center for Disease Control.
Photo: Courtesy of Chorley Council.

12 comments:

Thorsten from Soest said...

Rabies is 100% fatal viral disease once symptoms appear. Contracted by contact with an infected animal, rabies is a zoonotic disease that is transmittable and lethal to humans. Fatal and incurable viral infection that can be passed to and from any warm-blooded mammal, including humans.
Symptoms
Behavioural changes
Loss of appetite
Desire for isolation
Anti-social behaviour
Aggression
Somnolence
Lethargy
Foaming at the mouth
Paralysis
Available Treatments
None, preventative vaccine only.
Possible Causes
Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal.

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Pet Urns said...

Those are really interesting facts on rabies. I did not know that once the symptoms show you will die within a few days, and that such a large number of people still die from rabies every year.