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The risk of rabies from dog bites

Rabies is one of the worst diseases you could face if you're bitten by a dog. Many New Hampshire dogs now receive rabies vaccinations so they won't be carriers. However, if they don't have rabies tags or other identification on them, you may be forced to endure treatments that are costly and painful to prevent the onset of the disease.

Rabies is a disease that claims around 60,000 lives each year around the world. One to three people in the U.S. die from rabies each year, and over 15 million people around the world get post-exposure vaccinations after being bitten by animals who have, or are suspected of having, the disease.

Rabies is spread through saliva. The illness is viral, which means it's only able to be treated with antiviral medications. Transmission of the disease can take place when an infected animal bites you; its saliva gets into your wounds, causing you to contract the disease. Rabies is a dangerous disease that leads to infection and death if it's not treated in a timely manner.

Furious rabies is the most common form of the disease. Patients exhibit a number of symptoms like encephalitis, hallucinations, trouble swallowing and confusion. The problem with this disease is that once the clinical symptoms appear, the disease is very difficult to stop. Normally, it's irreversibly fatal at that point.

If you've been bitten by a dog, medical professionals will ask a few questions. Where was the bite? Did it penetrate your skin? Was the animal vaccinated? When a doctor decides you need post-exposure vaccination, you'll receive a number of injections. Some of the shots are given immediately near the bite and others are given over a two- week period to help the body fight off the disease.

Going through this process after a dog bite is frightening. If the dog's owner hasn't had his dog vaccinated, you could be facing a life-threatening illness because of that negligence.

Source: Medicine Net, "Rabies" Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP, Sep. 10, 2014

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