Vaccination enables your body to make immunoglobulins, but this takes time. If you are bitten, you might need the immunoglobulins immediately.
First we supply immunoglobulins to neutralize the virus. Then the body starts to make its own immunoglobulins and takes over the process.
Unlike Daniela, who only knows about rabies from her mothers warnings, Bess and Madee learned about it at school.
In the urban areas people are usually aware of rabies, but we have to be aware that most people in the rural areas sometimes do not catch the message very well, and then even after exposure from suspicious animals, they just go to have the hobo remedies or to the traditional healers and most victims (99 percent) do not seek any proper medication at all.
People are certainly aware of the danger of rabies. Finances are the only reason they dont come. If the rabies center is far away, they have to pay for transportation, for a place to stay in Ouagadougou and for the vaccine.
Rabies treatment costs at least 40,000 CFA francs. This is very expensive for a farmer who might earn only 10,000 CFAs a year. So nothing is done until the disease or death makes an appearance. Thats often how it goes and is true of other diseases. People would rather die at home than to go to a clinic.
Dr. S. Diop:
Decentralization must go further and regional rabies centers must be established so immediate care can be provided close to home.
There are only 2 rabies centers in Burkina Faso. We would like all of our 13 regional health departments to provide rabies treatment. This would make rabies less lethal.
Probably the best thing that we could do is to eliminate the source of rabies and how people are actually exposed to this disease. And in looking at where rabies is most prevalent, what we find is that over ninety-five percent of human deaths are actually caused by exposure to rabid dogs. So, if we were going to eliminate the source of the disease, the best thing is to go out and vaccinate dogs in countries where canine rabies or dog rabies is still prevalent.
People are not unaware of rabies. After the state began its rabies vaccination campaigns, they had their dogs vaccinated. But people tend to forget and think one injection is enough. Ideally, dogs should be vaccinated each year.
The values, the culture and the religion, an example in Thailand, you know the Thai culture and the Buddhist people they like their dogs and they like to feed their dogs, But they dont have the responsibility for their dogs so they dont care about the vaccination of the dogs but they like to feed and take care of their dogs, so in my mind, we have to control stray dogs and stray cats first.
In Bangkok alone, there are an estimated 850,000 dogs. There are no figures for the African countries.
The health-care authorities are not insensitive to the rabies issue. Unfortunately, we have a lot of epidemic diseases in our countries. Last year, 3 deaths were officially attributed to rabies. This seems low compared with the 3,000 cases of meningitis.
Dr. S. Diop:
Rabies is clearly under-reported. We need to do everything we can to obtain reliable data. This would have a major impact on both the people and their politicians. And it would lead to a stronger commitment to combating this scourge.
The Alliance for Rabies Control is a group of people who have come together and the alliance has asked for partnerships from various areas throughout the world, including international organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Animal Health Association, WISPA, which is an NGO protecting animals, as well as universities. Even stakeholders including industry have come together because were all working towards the elimination and prevention of rabies throughout the world.
I am optimistic about the future. The pharmaceutical industries are helping because our countries are poor and have few resources. The entire world must mobilize to fight rabies. We have to talk about it; communication costs very little and will truly help these populations.
World Rabies Day was started in 2007 so the alliance sees this as an annual event that will be held every year on September 28. And its an opportunity for all countries to do something. Whether youre big or small, everybody can do something to increase awareness on World Rabies Day.