Rabies-A A +A
Friday, September 27, 2013
SEPTEMBER 27 is also known as the World Rabies Day.
Literatures share that historically, the word rabies’ is a Latin term for rage or madness.
Cecilia Castro, a holder of masters in nursing and psychology degrees, writes in her ‘Community Health Nursing and CommunityHealth Development’ that rabies is an acute encephalomyelitis [infection of brain and parts of spinal cord] caused by the rabies virus or rhabdovirus of the genus lyssavirus.
“[Rabies] is also known as Hydrophobia or Lyssa,” she adds.
“There are two types of rabies, namely urban or canine rabies that are transmitted by dogs and sylvatic rabies that are diseases of wild animals like bats which sometimes spread to dogs, cats and livestock.”
The ‘Public Health Nursing in the Philippines,’ a manual published by the National League of Philippine Government Nurses informs that as of 2007, rabies remains a public health concern in the Philippines.
As a matter of fact, "approximately, 300 to 600 Filipinos die of rabies every year.”
“[The] Philippines has one of the highest prevalence rates of rabies in the world,” it points.
It states that the incubation period upon bite is usually between 2 to 8 weeks.
“It can be as long as a year or several years depending on the severity of the wounds, site of the wound as distance from the brain, amount of virus introduced and protection provided by clothing.”
Meanwhile, Christine Case, a registered microbiologist and her associates explains the pathology of rabies by starting with the virus entering the human body from an animal bite.
“The virus replicates in the muscle near the bite.”
And then “the virus moves up the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system [brain and spinal cord].”
“The virus [then] ascends [through the] spinal cord.” Once “the virus reaches the brain, [it] causes fatal encephalitis [brain infection].”
Lastly, “the virus enters the salivary glands and other organs of the victim.”
The Manual of Nursing practice states that the following are some of the manifestations of rabies: sense of apprehension; headache; fever; sensory change near site of animal bite; spasm of muscles including fear of water or hydrophobia; paralysis; and convulsions.
On the other hand, Castro recommends that a victim of a rabid dog needs to immediately wash the bite wound with soap and clean water and then must be brought to the nearest Animal Bite Center for immunization.
Furthermore, she maintains that garlic and vinegar need not be applied on the bite wound as these will cause more injury as manifested by swelling, irritation and further introduction of dirt into the wound.
Digressing a little from the pathophysiology of rabies, the Department of Health (DOH) has launched the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program with the following goals: (1) to reduce the incidence of rabies from 7 million to 1 million population by 2010 and eliminate rabies by 2015; and (2) To reduce incidence of canine rabies from 70 per 100, 000 to 7 per 100, 000 dogs by 2010 and eliminate canine rabies by 2015.
This program is said to be a collaborative effort of the following agencies, DOH, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Education, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and nongovernment organizations.
And lastly, its program strategies include manpower development or training of healthcare workers; social mobilization through organization of meetings and networking with other sectors; Local program implementation including enforcement of ordinances on dog control measures; dog immunizations; and social preparations that include dog vaccination and post-immunization evaluations.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 27, 2013.