Rabies is a rampant health problem in the country, with approximately 600 citizens dying of it every year. The lack of discipline towards animal care and the fact that animals are allowed to roam around freely in the streets are the main culprits behind the high incidence of rabies in the Philippines.
Dogs are the main sources of rabies in the country, which is why households are always encouraged to have their dogs vaccinated and restricted within their properties. The Department of Health (DOH) and other public health organizations hold annual seminars to educate the people about rabies.
Rabies is usually transmitted from a dog’s saliva and enters the body through breaks in the skin. It can also enter the body through a person’s eyes and mouth.
Since rabies is a fatal disease which can kill those who get infected with it, a person should seek treatment immediately after bitten by a rabid animal. Let us examine the various rabies symptoms.
There are two types of rabies: the furious type and the dumb type.
Dogs with the furious type of rabies become wild and uncontrollable, even though they normally have a friendly disposition. A dog becomes restless and has difficulty eating and drinking. It roams around aimlessly and will snap at or bite anyone who crosses its path. Of course, the most obvious and popular symptoms of rabid dog is the continuous foaming of the mouth.
The dumb type of rabies is the total opposite of the furious type, and symptoms include the absence of appetite and difficulty in breathing. A dog becomes depressed, lethargic and tends to hide in quiet, isolated places. The most obvious sign would be the hanging of the tongue and continuous drooling. A dog with this type of rabies will die suddenly without any indication beforehand.
To determine whether a biting dog is rabid or not, confine him in a cage or at least leash him in an isolated area. Carefully observe the animal for 14 days for physical symptoms described above. Better yet, bring the dog to a veterinarian for proper observation. If the dog dies within two weeks, it is most likely rabid.
In humans, the signs of infection include: fever, nausea, vomiting and headache. An infected person will experience dysfunction in the nervous system such as hallucination and paralysis.
If bitten by a rabid dog, make sure to get medical attention immediately. To prevent the incidence of rabies in your area, make sure to have your dogs vaccinated every year and keep them within the confines of your home or property.