Rabies or commonly called “mad dog” is a disease that has existed in Indonesia for decades.
But, there are still many ‘misconceptions’ or misperceptions that develop in the community. This misperception makes a lot of people injured, ranging from being bitten by a vicious dog to death. What are the misperceptions that are circulating?
Characteristics of Animals Affected by Rabies
Rabies can attack all mammals. Characteristics of animals infected with rabies can be identified by several factors, such as:
- The behavior of animals infected with the rabies virus will turn out to be more aggressive and difficult to control. This is caused by animal stress, anxiety and fear every time,
- Be sensitive to surrounding objects by directly attacking or gnawing,
- The animal’s saliva is excessive,
- Prefer hiding in dark and cold places because of fear of light, touch water and sound,
- Can be physically seen from weakness, seizures, decreased appetite,
- And tails pointing down between 2 feet.
- Not only dogs, there are many other animals that can transmit rabies to humans
Of the many cases of animal bites containing rabies, 95% of rabies animal bite cases in humans are indeed caused by dogs. But, there are still other animals that can transmit rabies and if you don’t know, the risk is quite dangerous.
All mammals can be infected with the rabies virus, and as such, they can also transmit the disease to humans. Mammals are all warm-blooded animals that have mammary glands for breastfeeding; animals that we generally encounter are: Dogs, Cats, Bats, Monkeys / Monkeys, Cows, Horses.
Note: Animals in italics are the main animals that can transmit rabies to humans because they have a habit of biting. Other mammals can be infected but very rarely transmit to humans.
Animals other than mammals such as snakes, crocodiles, birds, fish and frogs cannot be infected and transmit rabies.
- Why can animals that bite transmit rabies? Do animals infected with rabies only transmit by bite?
Rabies is a virus that is not always present in all mammals. These animals can only have a virus if they get the virus from the bite of an animal infected with rabies. So don’t assume that all the dogs around you can transmit rabies.
But never too little dog bites; what to do if you are bitten by a dog will be discussed in the next point. For further discussion, I will use the term “rabies animals” to animals that have the rabies virus in their bodies.
The rabies virus is in the saliva of rabies animals. When rabies animals bite humans, the virus in the animal’s saliva moves to the open human wound caused by the bite. Simply put, this virus can only enter our body if there are open sores, or through the surface of the body that is not covered by the skin (such as the eyes). So animals such as cows and horses can be infected with rabies (for example, they are bitten by dogs infected with rabies) but they rarely bite people or suddenly become bitten when they are infected with rabies.
For hunters of wild animals or those of you who like to venture into caves or into the forest must also be vigilant with bites of bats, monkeys, and monkeys because they are also animals that can transmit rabies.
Licking animals in open wounds can also make us infected with rabies. Not only that, there are several incidents of humans infected with rabies through scratching rabies animals. Loh? Do you also have saliva in your paws? Yes, some animals often clean their claws by licking their palms and claws. So the virus from saliva can also dwell in the animal’s claws and scratch marks make the virus enter our bodies.
- Will killing all stray dogs around our settlement reduce the risk of rabies?
Too bad the answer is no. Killing all stray dogs only has the effect of reducing the number of stray dogs in our environment – temporarily. As long as around our area there are still food scraps that are open, these animals will continue to arrive in our area. Don’t forget, dogs have a pretty sharp sense of smell.
We should make sure that landfills in our environment are tightly closed to reduce the number of stray dogs circulating around our area. The rabies virus is a virus that is transmitted quickly. Simply put, this virus spreads to animals around us like a multilevel marketing business.
One dog can transmit it to other dogs, before eventually he himself will die because this virus causes brain damage. For example, one rabies dog can bite two healthy dogs – in fact, it can be more than this; You can imagine what will happen in a period of several months if no preventive action is taken.
- How can my pet not transmit rabies to me? Is confining them at home enough?
Lick or – if they accidentally – scratch and bite your pet 99% safe if: you make sure all your pets (dogs, cats, and monkeys) have been vaccinated against rabies once a year. The Indonesian government in all regions always provides a free rabies vaccine every YEAR.
Why does it have to be once a year? Because rabies immunity in pets lasts only for a year. More than a year, these animals will have the risk of contracting rabies again if not vaccinated. Where is this free rabies vaccine obtained? Good news!! Visit the local office that deals with animal husbandry and animal health, there are a lot of veterinarians ready to help you.
- If it’s just an animal bite, I’m not afraid. What is the biggest danger of rabies?
Dead! There are many people who underestimate animal bites and only treat like normal wounds. As long as the animal that bites is not infected with rabies, you are actually relatively safe from the danger of rabies.
What is dangerous is, when symptoms of rabies appear in humans, the disease is 100% will cause death. In other words, when the symptoms appear the doctor cannot provide any treatment that can cure the patient. Once infected, this virus will multiply in our body and they will damage our brain until finally it is death. Every 10 minutes, there is 1 person in the world who dies from rabies. Most rabies victims are children (4 out of 10 rabies deaths occur in children under 15 years).
A few tips for parents, do not ever scold children excessively when they are injured while playing. This can make them afraid to report that at any time they are bitten by a dog while playing. I belong to this category; several times I – when I was a child – injured when playing and never reported my parents for fear of being scolded.
- What should I do if I am bitten by an animal suspected of being rabies?
It is quite difficult to ensure that the animal that bites (licks / scratches) us has rabies, especially if it is not our pet. You should do these two things if you are bitten by an animal: Wash the wound with running water and soap for 15 minutes.
Give povidon iodine if you have supplies. This method is effective enough to reduce the amount of virus that enters your body. Immediately seek treatment at the nearest health center or hospital. The sooner you seek treatment the better because this virus will continue to multiply in your body if you are not treated by a doctor.
Explain to the treating doctor that you have been bitten by an animal. There you will be given an Anti-Rabies Vaccine. The vaccine series is quite long; You have to go back and forth for treatment for 3x. It is very important that you get all vaccines on schedule.
- Can traditional medicine help?
Unfortunately, so far there have been no herbal medicines or traditional medicines reported to be able to prevent rabies. Indeed in several countries including Indonesia there are still many who try to treat animal bites with traditional medicine.
Besides being ineffective, there are a lot of traditional treatments that actually cause infection. So, back to point 6, immediately seek treatment to the nearest doctor.
- What should I do with animals that bite me?
Immediately report to the local veterinarian or the nearest office about dog bite cases. If the dog is wild, suggest to residents around to stay away from the dog.
Never kill a dog that bites you, because the dog may not necessarily bite because they are infected with rabies.
Dogs infected with rabies will die within approximately 14 days. Immediately send the dead dog’s body to the nearest animal health office so that the rabies virus can be checked.