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A guide to the rabies vaccine

Rabies is an acute and lethal disease that is caused by a viral infection of the central nervous system. The rabies virus is generally spread through a bite and saliva from a rabid animal. This article looks at what the rabies disease is and its vaccine.

Understanding the disease

Rabies in humans is usually passed on through a bite from rabid dogs, or through an infected bat. It is estimated that 100% of those who have been infected by rabid animals who don't receive the vaccine will die. Signs of rabies include fever, headache, muscle pains, difficulty in swallowing, and anxiety. These will eventually lead to brain inflammations, seizures, confusion, paralysis, coma, and death. What causes rabies? The rabies virus belongs to the virus family called Rhabdoviruses. Even though all mammals can become infected with the disease, there are only a few types that are able to effectively spread the virus to other animals. A few of these species consist of raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, and coyotes.

The rabies vaccination

The types of rabbies vaccine In the UK, there are two licensed vaccines for use. These are: 1. Human diploid cell vaccine (HDCV), or Rabies Vaccine BP Sanofi Pasteur Verorad. 2. Purified chick embryo cell (PCEC) rabies vaccine, or Rabipur. How does it work? The rabies vaccine contains an inactivated rabies virus. The vaccine functions by provoking the body's immune response to the virus, but which doesn't cause the disease. When a person's body has been exposed to organisms that are foreign, the immune system will create antibodies to fight and kill them. Then, these stay in the body to defend against new infections with the same organism. The rabies vaccine is given to stop the disease in people who are at a high risk of coming into contact with a rabid animal, or to people who have been bitten by an animal that is infected. When to administer it? Those at risk should have a course of three injections on days 0, 7 and 28 while a booster dose should then be administered every two to three years. Those who have been bitten and who haven't received the vaccine should receive their first injection as soon as possible after the bite. This should then be followed by additional doses on days 3, 7, 14, 30, and 90. Who is at risk? - Workers handling imported animals. - Laboratory workers dealing with the virus. - Licensed bat handlers. - Health workers in contact with patients who are infected. - Workers in high-risk jobs and areas. - Travellers in high-risk areas where limited medical care is available. The rabies shots are typically administered on the arm.

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