The spread of this disease virus to humans occurs through bites or bursts of saliva that enter through the wound or mucous lining. Scratches by an animal’s finger nails are contaminated with a virus, causing injury to the skin and also could be a cause of rabies. In other words, rabies cannot absorb or enter into human skin that is not injured.
When rabies-carrying animals bite humans, the virus starts attacking by entering blood vessels and spreading in the body. Slowly, the attack will reach the brain and the virus will begin to multiply quickly, then becomes the cause of severe inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. This inflammation can be risky and can potentially cause death in an infected person.
How can someone get rabies?
People are usually infected after a deep bite or scratch by an infected animal. Dogs are the main source and contagious disease. Besides dogs, bats are also the largest source of rabies virus. Meanwhile, deaths from exposure to foxes, raccoons, skunks, rats, and other wild carnivorous species are very rare.
Transmission could also occur when the infectious material, usually saliva, comes in direct contact with the human mucosa or a wound that is still fresh on the skin. Human-to-human transmission by bite is theoretically possible, but this has never been confirmed. In addition, consumption of raw meat or other tissue from infected animals has not been proven to transmit rabies to humans.
During the incubation period
Virus incubation is the time needed to consider. The incubation period for rabies usually occurs 2-12 weeks, although it can also occur for 4 days. The nearer the area of infection, the shorter the incubation period. The length of the incubation period is important, because that is the only acceptable period agreed.
The initial symptoms of rabies often feel vague and we can easily mistake them for other diseases. The following are the initial symptoms of rabies:
- Feeling unwell
- Feeling scared or anxious
In addition, about half the sufferers also experience pain and tingling in the infected location.
Initial symptoms will last for 2-10 days before more severe symptoms begin to develop. This usually includes aggressive behaviour, hallucinations, agitation, and the production of lots of saliva.
Symptoms of Rabies in Humans in details
After infection, the rabies virus needs time before it finally causes symptoms. The time before the onset of rabies is called the incubation period. Generally, the incubation period of the rabies virus is around 4 to 12 weeks after the bite of an infected animal. There are several factors that cause the time of the onset of symptoms to take place faster or slower.
There are some common symptoms that often appear early in the rabies virus attack:
- Rheumatic like tingling
After being bitten by an animal carrying rabies, usually a person will not immediately feel obvious symptoms. Only after a few days, some symptoms begin to appear and begin with rheumatic pain or pins and needles in the place that is bitten. People who are infected with the rabies virus will also feel itchy, even sore in the part that is attacked by animals carrying the virus.
- Symptoms Resembling the Flu
The bad news, the initial symptoms of rabies are often mistaken for flu symptoms because they have similar characteristics. In the early days, rabies infection to humans could cause symptoms, such as high fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, to difficulty sleeping at night. Some other flu-like symptoms may also occur, if not treated immediately, these mild symptoms could turn into worse conditions and cause the condition to get worse.
- Feeling Anxious and Confused
Rabies virus infection could cause people to have symptoms like hallucinations and certain anxiety disorders. Humans who have been infected will suffer anxiety, and easy to feel confused.
Therefore, it is very important to always pay attention to the health of pets in order to avoid deadly virus infections. One way is to give rabies vaccine to animals. The government has eradicated stray dogs in Bali because of the danger of rabies. As many as 98 percent of human rabies cases are transmitted by dogs. The rest is caused by cats and monkeys. If not treated immediately, this will certainly lead to death. That’s because of the tendency to ignore the condition of the body after being bitten or scratched by rabies.
After all, not many people know the symptoms of rabies in humans. According to Control of Animal Sourced Diseases Department (P2PB) from the Ministry of Health of Indonesia, the symptoms of rabies in humans are divided into four stages: prodromal, sensory, excitation, and paralysis.
Prodromal Stadium (beginning)
At this stage, there are no specific symptoms of rabies. Many consider it as an ordinary virus infection. Signs: weakness and lethargy, decreased appetite, fever, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, severe headaches, and sore throat.
Sensory Stadium (stimulation)
At this stage, the stadium has attacked or overreacted to sensory stimuli. Symptoms include pain, burning sensation and tingling in bite wounds or scratches, as well as increased feelings of anxiety. Symptoms of physical changes begin to appear. Someone who have been infected with rabies at this stage starts screaming, running, and jumping around. He also grabbed hair, afraid of water, light, and sound, excessive drooling, and bodily fluids such as tears.
Stage Paralysis (paralysis)
If it is severe, rabies can cause paralysis. Characteristics: mouth gaping, and paralyzed from the feet to the respiratory muscles making breathing difficult. Within four to six days after the first symptoms appear, a sufferer can die.
How to treat rabies in humans?
After knowing the symptoms of rabies, a patient must immediately deal with the pain. The first step that must be done is to clean the wound with running water for 15 minutes. Also add soap or detergent. Then, clean with an antiseptic. Furthermore, it is advisable to go to the nearest health service centre for immediate medical treatment. There, patients will be given anti-rabies serum and periodic vaccines.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a bite treatment that starts immediately after someone is exposed to rabies. This must be done so that the virus does not enter the central nervous system which will result in death in the short term. This PEP consists of:
- Local treatment of wounds that begin as soon as possible after exposure.
- Provides an effective and effective rabies vaccine that meets WHO standards.
- The injection of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) vaccine, if needed.
In spite of that, don’t rely on vaccines. They are effective against the disease, but still, prevention is the best as it is. Make sure to not feeding or get too close to stray dogs, monkeys, bats or any warm-blooded animals if you really want to reduce your health risk. When you’re get scared of seeing the suspicious stray dog, raise your hands as if you are going to throw a stone, they usually run. And also keep your children from getting too close to them. Remember, once symptoms have already developed however, there is no treatment and death is the usual outcome.