RABIES, 120 years after Pasteur. Part 1/3





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Published on Sep 25, 2009

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Daniela is gently roused for school.
Nong Khai, northeast Thailand, a loving mother prepares breakfast for Bess and her little sister Madee.
In the collective unconscious, Louis Pasteur discovered vaccination when he saved a young shepherd, who had been bitten by a rabid dog, from certain death.
A grim assessment: 120 years later, rabies still kills.

Dr. Diop:
Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning present in humans and animals. In humans, it takes the form of an acute encephalomyelitis. The rabies virus makes it deadly.

Rabies follows expose, usually exposure usually from dogs and cats. We can say that dogs are the main reservoir and the main transmitting vectors since as many as 97% of the cases are caused by infected dogs.

Dr. Rigobert:
Rabies symptoms in humans: it is an infectious disease so fever and other general manifestations, like headaches, are present. But the classical sign of rabies is hydrophobia, or fear of water. There are other clinical forms, such as the paralytic form, in which the lower extremities are paralyzed. In its furious form, there are signs of acute mania and the patient may even attack medical personnel.

The evolution of the disease: we can say that it starts first with the incubation period. This period means that the virus does not do anything; it just remains at the site of inoculation. And during this period of time we can prevent the disease. We can give the vaccination and we can give the rabies immunoglobulin to neutralize the virus at the site of the bite and then we can save the patient. So once the disease appears, I mean once there is just a symptom of rabies then we cannot treat the patient at all.

Dr. Diop:
Once rabies has declared itself, it is always deadly.

Rabies actually exists in every continent, across the world, except for Antarctica. In fact there are over fifty-five thousand people that die every year of rabies, and this is probably an underestimate.

You see, in Thailand, we use post-exposure in 400 000 cases per year. We have sixty million people in Thailand; that means that XX% of our people receive post exposure every year.

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