Rabies is a viral disease that can be contracted by a person from the bite of an animal infected with the rabies virus. The viral agent is neurotropic and settles in structural cells of the brain and spinal cord, where it forms characteristic Babesh-Negri bodies.

It was first described 4000 years ago. And despite great advances in diagnosis and prevention, today the disease is almost always fatal for infected people who are not treated promptly.

The clinical condition is classified as a slow viral infection such as AIDS and is completely preventable with appropriate treatment. It is necessary to first identify the exposure to the virus and promptly receive appropriate medical care and this without fail must occur before the initial symptoms develop.

Human rabies is a rare disease in Bulgaria, but due to the increasing population of free-roaming dogs, the probability of new cases is increasing significantly.

What are the symptoms?

The latent period of the disease in humans is most often between 30 and 60 days but can vary from less than 10 days to 1 or more years.

In most people, the disease is manifested by pain, numbness or paresthesia /tingling/ around the bite site or from the area where the virus entered the body. At first, these manifestations of the disease can look like any virus except for the tingling sensation around the bite site.

Gradually, however, the affected person worsens significantly and develops very severe symptoms such as high fever, confusion, hyperactivity and subsequently seizures and coma. Typically, sufferers develop abnormal contractions and spasms of the airways when exposed to water, a condition referred to as hydrophobia.

It is also possible for them to make the same reaction when the air moves towards them – aerophobia. At this moment, the affected person is in a very serious condition and the various organs of the body are affected by the action of the virus. The very painful death of the affected person occurs, despite the initiation of drug therapy and the installation of breathing apparatus.

In rare cases, the other form develops – the paralytic one, which is associated with a bite from a blood-sucking bat. In this case, the affected develops paralysis or inability to move the side of the body where the bite is.

But gradually the paralysis affects the other side of the body and the patient eventually dies. This form of the disease is significantly less common than classic rabies.

Treatment of rabies

When bitten by an animal, you should always wash the wound with soap and water and disinfect its surface with some iodine antiseptic solution.

This will help kill the bacteria that often get in through a bite, but it has also been found to reduce the chance of transmitting the rabies virus if the animal is rabid.< /p>

If the animal is a pet, you should immediately get the owner’s name, address and telephone number if possible. This information will assist health authorities as they can compel the owner to test the animal for the presence of the rabies virus.

• If the animal is wild or stray, try to get help from local health authorities to start a procedure to capture it for examination

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