The contagion of rabies in children

The contagion of rabies in children

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'He has been bitten by a dog and I come to put himrabies vaccine'. It is certainly a phrase that many pediatricians are tired of hearing. This popular fear, added to the presence of a spectacular wound, makes the consultation acquire a certain degree of urgency, with significant nervousness and concern on the part of the parents.

However, in Spain, there is no confirmed case of rabies transmitted by an animal of Spanish origin since 1975. There are cases of people in many other countries. In any case, if they receive preventive treatment with the vaccine, they do not develop the disease.

Anger it is an infectious disease that mainly attacks the central nervous system. It causes encephalitis and has a very high mortality rate.

In case a rabid animal bit us, the risk of transmission, even without subsequent administration of the vaccine, is approximately 20%. In addition, adequate irrigation of wounds reduces the risk of contagion by up to 90%. Nevertheless, in case of developing rabies, mortality is 100%, since there is no treatment for the disease. Hence the justified, though perhaps excessive, fear.

The rabies vaccine in dogs is compulsory in all of Spain (except Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia). In the event of a bite from a well vaccinated pet, no vaccine should be given to children, mainly because it is a fairly safe treatment but not without risks.

In the event of a bite from an unvaccinated animal, observation by a veterinarian for the next ten days is advisable, and administer the vaccine to the victim in case the animal develops any symptoms compatible with rabies. (In Spain, if the bite occurs in Andalusia, Ceuta or Melilla, given its geographical proximity to Morocco, the initiation of vaccination could be assessed).

In the event of bites from wild cats and dogs, foxes or, above all, bats, the vaccine should be administered. Special care must be taken with bats, since in many towns the practice of certain games in festive environments continues to be common. On the other hand, it is rare for a bat to fly during the day or get inside a house, as they prefer to fly outdoors and at night. In these cases, extreme caution must be exercised because this attitude on the part of the animal may be due to disorientation, or to the search for a place of protection, in both cases symptoms compatible with rabies.

So after a bite, the last thing we have to think about is rage. You have to wash the wound well and consult the pediatrician, and only in the case of wild or unvaccinated animals, ask about rabies, knowing that it is an exceptional disease in our country. The problem is that the rabid topicality of some news makes them interesting for some summers, but in the end all they do is raise a social alarm that shouldn't exist.

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