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The fox that bit Rep. Ami Bella and at least seven people in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, has been euthanized and tested positive for the rabies virus, Fox News reported.
Health experts told Fox News that anyone bitten by an animal must seek immediate medical attention and, if possible, have the animal tested for rabies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report website Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus. It affects the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. Once symptoms of rabies appear, the disease is “almost always fatal”, the federal health agency said.
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Dr. Fred Davis, deputy director of emergency medicine at the Northwell Health System in Long Island, N.Y., told Fox News that rabies is a deadly disease and that individuals should seek treatment immediately after being bitten or scratched by a wild animal. Victims of bites should be treated before symptoms of illness, which can include fever, headache and excessive salivation, Davis said.
In addition to fever and headache, early symptoms of the virus can include weakness or discomfort and a tingling or itching sensation at the site of the bite, according to the CDC. The health organization also said that the disease progresses, “within a few days, the infected person becomes anxious, confused and agitated. As a person becomes more ill, they may become delirious, hallucinatory and unable to sleep. , unable to swallow or quench their thirst. Their thirst. »
In severe cases, a person may exhibit hydrophobia, a “fear of water” that is triggered by the extreme pain a patient experiences when trying to swallow liquids, including water, some health experts told Fox News. and saliva.
Davis told Fox News, “Rabies is a virus that is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. This usually occurs through a bite or contact of an infected animal’s saliva with an open wound.
Davis also said: “If you are bitten by an unfamiliar animal, especially if that animal is behaving erratically (a nocturnal animal during the day) or a dog that cannot monitor unusual behavior, then you should seek emergency care.”
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The CDC says the virus is primarily found in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Globally, people commonly contract rabies through dog bites, the CDC says on its website.
Initial treatment typically involves cleaning the wound and then treating the individual with PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), Davis said.
Post-exposure prophylaxis consists of one dose Human Rabies Immunoglobulin (HRIG) and Rabies Shot Administer on the day of exposure to rabies. Another dose of the vaccine is given on days 3, 7 and 14 after the bite, according to the CDC website.
“Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should always include co-administration of HRIG and rabies vaccine for individuals who have never received a rabies vaccine before,” the CDC said, noting that “combination of HRIG and vaccine for bite and non-bite exposures is recommended. Regardless of the time interval between exposure and initiation of treatment. »
The CDC is also warning travelers who have been bitten by animals abroad to return to the U.S. or elsewhere for treatment because rabies vaccines and medications are not available anywhere in the country.
Dr. Robin Sturtz, director of the Veterinary and Veterinary Technology Program at Long Island University in New York, told Fox News that rabies is a serious problem when it comes to animal bites. “Without treatment, the number of rabies survivors will be minimal. »
Animals with advanced rabies often appear restless and disoriented, Sturtz told Fox News. Stewarts also said that nocturnal animals such as raccoons that carry the virus will appear during the day, even approaching humans. The best advice, Sturtz said, is to stay away from wild animals, call an animal control center, and admire them from a distance. She also stressed the need for pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies.
Sturtz also talked about the concept of “bubbling in the mouth” of animals with rabies. The veterinarians explained to Fox News that the animals were not necessarily “blistering their mouths,” but drooling. The virus attacks an animal’s nervous system, and it can’t swallow saliva, so the animal starts drooling, leading to the description, Sturtz said.
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To protect you from rabies, CDC The following advice is offered on their website:
Avoid animals when traveling
- Do not touch dogs, puppies or other animals. This applies to stray animals and pets. Not all countries require pets to be vaccinated against rabies. Even healthy-looking animals can transmit rabies.
- Supervise children closely, especially around dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, and wild animals.
- Watch carefully if you are traveling with pets. Do not let it be around other local pets or wildlife.
- Avoid bringing animals back to the United States. Dogs and cats can get rabies, but symptoms don’t appear until days or months later.If you decide to bring animals to the U.S., be aware CDC and USDA Animal import regulations.
- If you will be working with animals, please bring and wear appropriate protective equipment.