Every year on September 28, World Rabies Day is observed to raise awareness about this deadly viral disease, its prevention, and the importance of vaccination. This day also commemorates the birthday of Louis Pasteur, the French scientist who developed the first rabies vaccine in 1885.
World Rabies Day serves as a critical reminder of the ongoing need for rabies awareness, prevention, and treatment efforts worldwide. While the disease remains a global health concern, the availability of vaccines and public education campaigns offer hope for a future where rabies is eradicated, and no one has to suffer from this preventable yet deadly illness.
Remember, responsible pet ownership, timely vaccination, and seeking medical care after potential exposure are key steps in combating rabies and ensuring the safety of both humans and animals.
World Rabies Day 2023: History, Significance, And Common Symptoms
Rabies is one of the oldest known diseases to mankind, with references dating back thousands of years. The word “rabies” itself originates from the Latin word “rabere,” which means “to rave” or “to be mad.” Throughout history, rabies was often associated with madness due to the aggressive and erratic behavior it induces in its victims.
The development of the rabies vaccine by Louis Pasteur in the late 19th century marked a significant turning point in the fight against rabies. This pioneering work laid the foundation for rabies prevention and treatment that continues to save countless lives today.
World Rabies Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing battle against this deadly virus. Despite being preventable, rabies still claims thousands of lives each year, particularly in regions with limited access to healthcare and vaccination programs. This day aims to:
Raise Awareness: World Rabies Day educates people about the importance of vaccination, responsible pet ownership, and proper wound care to prevent rabies transmission.
Promote Vaccination: Vaccinating pets and implementing mass vaccination campaigns for stray animals are crucial strategies to prevent rabies in both animals and humans.
Honour Louis Pasteur: On this day, we pay tribute to Louis Pasteur’s groundbreaking work in developing the rabies vaccine and acknowledge the advancements in rabies prevention and treatment.
Rabies Common Symptoms:
Rabies is a viral disease that primarily affects mammals, including humans. It is caused by the rabies virus, which is usually transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal via bites or scratches. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal, which underscores the urgency of seeking medical attention if there is a suspicion of exposure.
Common symptoms of rabies in humans can be categorized into two stages:
Prodromal Stage: This initial stage may last for several days and is characterized by flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, and fatigue. Victims may also experience pain, tingling, or itching at the site of the wound.
Acute Neurological Stage: As the virus progresses, it attacks the central nervous system, leading to more severe symptoms. These may include anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, and paralysis. The famous image of a rabid animal foaming at the mouth is a result of excessive salivation, a common symptom in humans as well.
Once the acute neurological stage sets in, the disease is almost always fatal. Therefore, immediate medical attention is vital if someone is bitten or scratched by an animal that could potentially carry the rabies virus.