Many people do not know that rabies is an ancient disease. In fact, the earliest records describing this disease could be found in early Middle Eastern civilizations more than 4000 years ago. This disease is feared by many civilizations and cultures throughout human history and it has been so for so many years for good reasons.
So, what is it that makes rabies so scary? And why is taking rabies vaccines so important? Here are 3 reasons why must consider taking rabies vaccines!
1. You are at higher risk of rabies if there are stray animals around you.
Rabies is transmitted to humans mostly through bites or scratches from rabid animals infected by rabies lyssavirus. In addition, this disease exists in almost every part of the world, including Indonesia.
According to research in the US National Library of Medicine, rabies was first reported in Indonesia in the early 1880s. Today, the disease is endemic in 24 Indonesian provinces, including the world-famous resort island, Bali.
In fact, Bali’s worst case of rabies outbreak happened in 2008-2009. At the time, thousands of people were admitted to hospitals and hundreds died due to rabies. These people were bitten mostly by stray dogs with rabies. And, in very rare cases, they might also catch it from stray cats, bats, or even monkeys.
For sure, measures have been taken ever since that outbreak occur to suppress the impact of this rabies epidemic. Rabies vaccinations were rolled out both for humans and stray animals and sometimes the government has issued the order for the culling of stray animals to lower their population and thus lower the risk of rabies spreading.
Despite all that, the fact stands that rabies has never indeed been eliminated yet in most parts of Indonesia, Bali included, as well as the world.
Thus, you must practice extra care if you’re visiting or living in areas with many free-roaming stray animals, especially dogs. Otherwise, you are at significant risk of catching rabies from getting bitten by stray animals in the area.
2. Rabies is a fatal illness without effective medicine.
According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, nearly 60,000 people worldwide die from rabies every year. Rabies damages the nerves, especially those in the brain.
Regardless of the variant or the animal it came from, over 99% of rabies cases are fatal. This is especially true for those who have not been vaccinated with the rabies vaccine. Rabies itself does not immediately manifest in victims after they are infected. However, once symptoms occur a few days after the bite, most patients die within 2 weeks.
At first, these symptoms include flu-like symptoms, such as:
- Stinging or itching sensation at the site of the bite.
Then, the symptoms worsen into:
- Brain dysfunction
- Abnormal behavior
- Hydrophobia (fear of water)
To make matters worse, there is currently no actual treatment to cure rabies – only supportive treatments. Similarly, there are no effective medicines against it either, especially once symptoms start to appear.
This is why rabies is such a dangerous disease. In fact, rather than vaccinating humans, one of the ways to effectively eliminate the disease is either by giving rabies vaccination to stray animals or even culling them to reduce the potential spread of the virus between animals and humans. Certainly, nobody should ever underestimate rabies.
3. Taking the rabies vaccine is the only effective method against the disease.
Fortunately, as fatal as rabies may be, vaccinations proved to be very effective against rabies.
There are two kinds of rabies vaccines that are safe and available for humans. One of these vaccines is called rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis. These rabies vaccines are a vaccine that you could take to protect yourself before making any contact with the rabies virus.
US CDC recommends that you take at least 2 doses of the vaccines for protection against rabies for up to 3 years. This means that you would be at a significantly lower risk of rabies growing severe if you ever catch it once you are vaccinated.
Another rabies vaccine that you could take is the one most commonly taken called rabies postexposure prophylaxis. This particular vaccine is effective in preventing rabies symptoms from occurring in humans by strengthening the patient’s immune systems after they were bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal.
This rabies vaccine should be administered immediately as soon as possible after your first contact with rabid animals and will continue to be administered every few days until doctors deem the patient fit to be discharged.
You may be interested to read The Main Reason Why You Have To Be Vaccinated
Conclusion: Take rabies vaccine and seek immediate care if bitten by stray animal
Rabies is a scary disease that infects humans through rabid animal bites or scratches. It exists in almost every part of the world without effective medicine that can help humans fight against it. And, in most cases, victims of rabies will die within 2 weeks after they begin showing symptoms of rabies after the bite.
However, the good news is that taking rabies could be mitigated from growing severe by taking proper treatment and preventive care as soon as possible. The most effective way to do this is by taking the rabies vaccine whether before or after being bitten or scratched by potentially rabid stray animals.
If you are traveling to or currently residing in Bali, especially Kuta and Kerobokan area, Puri Medical Clinic is always ready to be your trusted health care solution. We provide the best emergency care, health consultation, and vaccination programs that you need to protect yourself from rabies.
In fact, we provide a wide array of vaccination programs aside from rabies vaccine. We provide such as vaccinations against flu, viral hepatitis A, viral hepatitis B, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, rubella, parotitis, papillomavirus, poliomyelitis, tetanus, tuberculosis, etc.
If you are interested in seeking our services, please do give us a call at +(62) 85 100 103 103 or email us at [email protected]. Our team of experienced and high-quality doctors and specialists is always ready 24/7 to provide the best health care for you.