Rabies is a disease that is transmitted through infected animals such as dogs and cats. What makes it very concerning is that once a human contract it, most of the time it is fatal. Most doctors around the world, and especially in countries with plenty of stray animals will tell you that vaccination is the best way to prevent it.

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However, in the UAE, we are fortunate that rabies is not a severe case and diseases transmitted through animals are very rare. With that being said, it does not mean we shouldn’t be careful around animals. 

Causes of Rabies

Rabies is a deadly virus that occurs when people come in contact with the saliva of an infected animal. This is often transmitted through a bite. Depending on the country and location, many different animals can potentially carry the disease.

In the USA, bats, coyotes, foxes, and skunks carry the virus. In southeast Asia and Africa, dogs, cats, and stray animals will commonly carry the disease. If these animals are not contained, they will infect anyone or anything that comes it comes across should it bite. 

Symptoms of Rabies

The following symptoms also belong to that of the normal flu or virus. Though these symptoms may seem like an ordinary fever, what differentiates it with rabies is that they will become more aggressive and dramatic a short period.

That’s when you know it has become very serious. The following symptoms can become apparent within 24 hours after coming in contact with the infected animal:

  • Cold Sweat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing

How to Prevent Rabies

Once you get rabies, there’s almost no going back. Which is why it’s so important to understand how to prevent it and all-out avoid it. Though we are lucky that this disease is not too alarming in the UAE, its always good to take caution over something so serious. Reduce the risk of rabies by:

  • Cleaning and showering your pets: Especially if you have a cat, dog, rabbit or any pet that likes to hang outdoors, give them regular showers and keep them clean. Also, make sure you practice proper hygiene before and after you play with them. It’s also a good idea to keep a distance from your pet, especially when they’re sick. We know that it is important to care for them, but if their symptoms become dramatic, it’s good to keep a distance and hand it over to the animal control officer.
  • Stay away from stray animals: Even if you see a perfectly healthy-looking dog or cat in public, do not go close to them. Especially if they do not have an owner, chances are they are a stray animal and may carry rabies with them. If you see them, keep as far a distance as possible for you and your pet.
  • Report stray animals to local authorities: If you do ever come across a stray animal, report it to the local animal controls office to assess the situation. Even if you are feeling sorry for the animal, it’s never a good idea to come in contact with them as they could transmit a deadly disease. The best way to help them and the others around them are to report them to experts at first notice.
  • Vaccinate yourself and your pet: We don’t always have total control of what our pets come in contact with. That’s why the safest thing to do is have them vaccinated nice and early at the local vet. If you like to travel to other countries where rabies is common or have a lifestyle where animals surround you always, it may be a good idea to get your self vaccinated as well. 

When to See a Doctor?

If you notice these symptoms and they don’t seem to subside, seek medical attention immediately. If you are feeling multiple symptoms from the above, the chances are that it could be rabies.

No self-treatment or management can improve this condition. You can only see the doctor to get the necessary medicine and corrective procedures to help you manage this disease. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.