What are Rabies and Causes of Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that affects both animals and humans. It is transmitted when virus-infected saliva enters the body through a wound or cut in the skin. Could you find out how to stop it?
The Rabies is a disease that both animals and humans, i.e., is a zoonosis. It is one of the first diseases recorded in antiquity; Its first reference is found in Sumerian writings from 3500 BC, in which it is detailed that the owners of rabid dogs who had bitten other people were fined.
It was Louis Pasteur who, in the 19th century, discovered that Rabies was due to a virus, and he designed a vaccine by isolating an attenuated virus, which he used for the first time on a child who a mad dog had bitten.
Today Rabies is widespread in all parts of the world, except Antarctica, since mammals have not come into contact with infected mammals from other continents. Some 60,000 people die each year from Rabies, almost all in rural areas of Asia and Africa.
The numbers could be much higher if not for the vaccine injected each year to 15 million people who are at risk of contracting this disease. Most of the cases of Rabies in history were due to dog bites. However, today, the mammals that transmit Rabies most frequently are the fox in Europe, the United States, and Mexico, and the bats in the rest of the world.
The number of annual rabies deaths is suspected to be much higher, as many of these deaths go unrecorded. Eradication campaigns are not very effective because it is tough to control wild animals; the UK is believed to be the only one free of Rabies – there has only been one case, in 2012, in the last hundred years.
In developed countries, the rabid dog population has been controlled, and only a few countries have high-risk areas, such as southern Mexico, northern Argentina, and rural Peru. The rest of Latin American countries do not have records of canine Rabies or highly controlled.
Causes of Rabies
The cause of Rabies is a small elongated virus, like a rod, that has an RNA molecule inside. It can be found everywhere in the world where there are mammals since it lives in their saliva and passes from one mammal to another when the infected saliva comes into contact with the muscles and blood of the healthy mammal; for this, there has to be a front door through a bite or scratch. The animals that most frequently transmit Rabies to humans are:
It is not entirely easy to tell when a mammal is infected with Rabies. However, it can be noticed by changes in its attitude (for example, barking at night without interruptions or crashing to the ground in the case of bats), by an Increased aggressiveness without being prompted to do so, due to the lousy appearance it presents, or because it cannot swallow saliva and it foams out of the mouth.
Once the virus reaches the wound, it begins to multiply and soon begins to move up the nerves until it reaches the spinal cord and, from there, to the brain, where it causes encephalitis.
The time it takes to affect the brain is usually about seven days, although it varies depending on where the animal has bitten since if the nerve has a short route to the brain, it will take less time. However, the disease can manifest itself years later because the virus can remain dormant within the body.
Another way to get Rabies is by inhaling the virus in caves where bats live. It is a rare form of transmission, and there have been few cases in the world. Also, contact with fluids from dead animals or people during autopsies can be a source of infection, but it is just as rare as the previous case.