What is rabies? Rabies is an acute viral infection of the central nervous system that is transmitted from animals to humans by secretions, usually saliva, contaminated with the rabies virus.
Two months before his death, a 50-year-old man in Hanoi participated in dog slaughter with some other people. In this case, it is not clear whether the dog was bitten or injured when dissecting the dog. He has not received rabies vaccine or rabies serum.
Patients with symptoms of headache, fever, fatigue, fear of water, fear of wind, fear of light, difficulty breathing and were hospitalized. Progressing more and more severe, he died on the evening of October 19. The sample tested positive for rabies virus.
According to doctors, rabies is an acute viral encephalitis. The disease is transmitted mainly through the bite or scratch, lick of a rabid animal on the damaged skin. The reservoir of rabies virus in nature is mammals such as dogs, cats, ferrets, civets, bats, foxes… In Vietnam, dogs are the main reservoirs of rabies virus (accounting for 97%), followed by cats. about 3%)…
Currently, there is no cure for rabies. Once symptoms appear, a person infected with the rabies virus has an almost 100% chance of dying.
According to the master, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Anh Tuan, Executive Director of Center for Clinical Biomedical Testing and Scientific and Technical Services, Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, most of the people who died from rabies were not vaccinated. prevention after being bitten, scratched or licked by an animal.
Doctor Tuan said, people often think “if dogs and cats are vaccinated, it’s okay”, or have a habit of watching animals bite first, if there is a problem, they will go to a medical facility to get vaccinated. These are incorrect notions. Rabies vaccination is especially important, given it as soon as possible after an animal bite. Especially in case the victim is bitten in a dangerous area such as the head, face, neck, etc.
In addition, arbitrarily treating with Oriental medicine or getting bitten by a dog can seriously affect health, even leading to death.
Doctor Tuan noted that fear of side effects of rabies vaccine is also a barrier that makes people hesitate to get vaccinated after exposure.
According to Dr. Duong Bich Thuy from the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, people need to coordinate many measures to prevent rabies, including: be wary of animals at risk of rabies transmission; rabies vaccination for dogs, cats…; Pre-exposure prophylaxis in high-risk subjects and post-exposure rabies prevention.
Rabies prevention after contact with suspected/rabid/lost animal animals, divided into 3 groups.
Group 1: Touching, feeding animals or being licked on healthy skin. This is a contactless group and no backup is needed
Group 2: Bites on bare skin (not penetrating the skin) or minor scratches on the skin that do not bleed. This is a less serious group. The person bitten needs to treat the wound properly and immediately get a rabies vaccine. Discontinue vaccination if the animal remains healthy after 10 days of follow-up or is found to be free of rabies virus.
Group 3: Having one or more penetrating bites or licks on damaged skin; Saliva on mucous membranes (licking) or contact with bats. According to Dr. Thuy, this is a serious group.
At that time, the person bitten/licked by the animal should immediately treat the wound properly, immediately inject the vaccine and anti-rabies serum (stop injection if the animal is still healthy after 10 days of monitoring or is tested as virus-free). wild).
How to properly treat wounds caused by dogs, cats…, specifically as follows:
– Immediately wash the wound with soap and under running water continuously for 10-15 minutes. If soap is not available, wash with clean water under running water continuously for 15 minutes. This is the most effective first aid method against rabies.
– Wounds after washing with water should be washed thoroughly with 70% alcohol or iodized alcohol, if any.
– Immediately bring the patient to a medical facility for treatment as soon as possible.
A person who is bitten or scratched by a cat or dog must absolutely not:
– Go get venom, apply herbal medicine, or apply leaves, coffee grounds, paprika, juice, tree sap… on the wound.
– Incision or further crushing the wound. The wound should not be sutured. If sutures are required, delay or only intermittent/removed stitches.
Earlier, at the end of September, the Ministry of Health warned of the risk of an outbreak of rabies across the country. In 2022, epidemics appeared and increased dramatically in provinces that were not key areas for rabies. Specifically, Ben Tre has 12 deaths from rabies (doubled compared to the same period in 2021), Kien Giang has 5 cases (1 case in the same period in 2021), Gia Lai has 4 cases (same period in 2021). no deaths)…
One of the reasons why rabies tends to increase is because people’s awareness about the disease is still limited. In addition, the management of dogs is still lax, the rate of rabies vaccination in dogs is low…
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year more than 10 million people are bitten by animals infected with rabies or suspected of having rabies, and must receive preventive treatment with vaccines; About 59,000 people die from this disease. The deaths are mainly reported in tropical countries.