Beware of rabies in summer for people from the society


Summer poses an increased risk of rabies for individuals in the community, highlighting a critical need for better awareness and prevention efforts. A significant obstacle in combating rabies is the lack of fundamental life-saving knowledge among those most vulnerable. Despite possessing the tools and knowledge to prevent rabies, the disease remains neglected, with organizations addressing the issue often feeling isolated due to insufficient resources.
The initial breakthrough in rabies prevention occurred in 1885 when Louis Pasteur and his team developed the first vaccine. The causative agent, Lyssavirus, is transmitted through bites from infected animals such as dogs, cats, and monkeys, leading to the onset of rabies in humans.
Rabies continues to be a prevalent health concern globally, with over 99 per cent of human deaths resulting from rabid dog bites occurring in the developing world. Africa and Asia bear the brunt of this burden, accounting for 95 per cent of the deaths. Remarkably, every continent, excluding Antarctica, faces the risk of rabies transmission.
Originating around 2,300 BC, rabies, caused by the Rhabdoviridae virus, spreads through nerve cells in animals and humans. The World Health Organization reports a staggering 55,000 annual deaths from rabies, translating to one person succumbing to the disease every 15 minutes. Asia and Africa collectively account for 54,000 of these fatalities.
Beyond dogs, other animals like bats, squirrels, and foxes can harbour the rabies virus, while domestic animals in close proximity to humans, such as cats, cows, and goats, may also carry the virus. Infection occurs primarily through contact with infected saliva, which enters the cuts, eyes, nose, or mouth. The incubation period varies, lasting weeks or months.
In Myanmar, the summer season sees an increased risk of rabies outbreaks due to a higher incidence of dog bites. Consequently, people of all ages must exercise caution when interacting with dogs and regularly check for signs of rabies. Implementing preventive measures, such as vaccinating pets, can contribute to an 80 per cent reduction in the risk of infection. If they face some cases of dog or other animal bites, they have to send the patients to nearby healthcare institutions in time to receive effective treatments.
Crucially, raising health awareness is essential to ensuring timely medical intervention. Communities must equip themselves with adequate knowledge on preventing both seasonal and sporadic diseases, fostering a collective effort to safeguard lives. Only through enhanced health consciousness can individuals receive the necessary medical attention when needed, ultimately saving lives.

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