Whenever we hear the word rabies, this is the image that immediately springs to mind. However, not all rabid animals display the “typical symptoms” and therein lies the danger.
The first and most important thing to understand about rabies is that if contracted and is allowed to advance to the later stages , it will almost certainly result in painful death. There is no known treatment and only a few very rare cases globally have seen the victim survive.
Rabies can affect ALL warm-blooded animals, though here in Thailand, dogs, cats, monkeys and bats are considered to be the main dangers.
It is estimated that 1 in 10 of Thailand’s feral dogs carry the virus. So what can we do to avoid this terrible disease. The obvious first step is to avoid contact with all dogs and cats roaming the streets.
Even a lick on an open wound or scrape can cause infection. As do scratches that break the skin, more likely from a cat. Any bite or scratch that breaks the skin MUST be treated in hospital
This is regardless of whether the animal showed any signs of bizarre behaviour.
So what happens next ?
If you have had no rabies vaccinations whatsoever, you will require a post- rabies vaccination which includes immunoglobulin (anti-bodies in the blood) immediately plus four injections . The first with the anti-bodies, the second on the 3rd day, the third on the 7th day and the last on the 14th.
Success rate is very high.
However, if you have received a pre-rabies vaccination you will not require immunoglobulin and only two injections. One immediately and one on the third day.
Success rate, nigh on 100%.
Whether there is a need for the pre- vaccination is up to the individual. For those living in or visiting very remote rural areas, it should be seriously considered.
Even pets are at risk. Dogs and cats who do not receive annual injections from a vet pose a threat. So, trying to simplify things, steer clear of animals, particularly in the street.
No matter HOW cute they may appear.
On a similar note, tetanus injections tend to be forgotten. Conflicting information abounds but from all the guidelines I have seen, it would seem that a tetanus jab needs renewing every 10 years to be on the safe side.
People tend to forget that tetanus is a real danger and potentially fatal. Especially living in a hot climate where more areas of skin are exposed to cuts and scrapes.
The good news is that the vaccination can now be given in your arm and not your backside. The tears are flowing already remembering a previous jab many years ago !!!