Rabies control and prevention

Rabies is a virus which can be transmitted through the body fluids mostly through the saliva of the infected animals, especially when infected animals bite other animals or humans

Rabies control and prevention

Rabies is a very dangerous disease. It is a virus which can be transmitted through the body fluids mostly through the saliva of the infected animals. When infected animals bite other animals or humans it will progress in other animals. In rare cases, it can transmit through animals saliva to a person’s mucous membrane like mouth or inner eyelids.

Dogs, raccoons, bats and foxes are the source of rabies transmission. In developing countries, street dogs are main source. It can be cured before showing of nervous signs. So that’s why those persons who are at risk of rabies should be vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccine.

Symptoms of rabies

The initial symptoms of are similar to flu but later the rabid person show following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Hyper salivation
  • Insomnia
  • Hydrophobia


Rabies virus is the cause of rabies. The genus of virus is lyssavirus belonging to rhabdoviridae family this virus is RNA enveloped single stranded negative sense virus.

How it case disease?

From the point of entry or wound the rabies virus travel along neural pathways of peripheral nervous system and to the central nervous system. It plays a role of interferon antagonist and decrease the immune system activity. After that virus goes to other organs of the body and it is present in high amount on the salivary gland of mouth and cheeks. The disease can appear from 2 days to years depending on the distance of the site of infection from brain and also on the species of reservoir animal.

Humans are considered as the dead end host of rabies. It can not be transmitted from person to person.

Forms of disease

There are two forms of disease

  1. Furious form: in this form death occurs due to heart failure and the signs of these forms are hyperactivity, hydrophobia and sometime aerophobia.
  2. Paralytic form: this form has longer incubation period than furious form and it contributes 30% of total human rabies cases. It is less dramatic. It starts from the site of bite or wound and gradually all muscles become paralyzed resulting coma and at the end death occurs.

Risk factors

  • Excessively remain in contact with animals.
  • Living in countries where rabies is most common.
  • Wounds to the head and neck which result in faster travel of rabies virus to brain.
  • Working with research animals.

Prevention and control

  • First and best preventive measure is to vaccinate your pets or animals with whom you are working in a lab.
  • Avoid your pets to come in contact with wild animals.
  • Report street stray dogs to local animal control officials.
  • Wild animals are unafraid of people and are not friendly so keep yourself away from wild animals
  • Vaccinate yourself with anti rabies vaccine before going to a country where rabies is common

By Dr Muhammad Hamza Zafar

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.