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Rabies Virus and How to Treat Rabies

Updated on December 29, 2013

Rabies virus attack the Negri bodies in the nerve cells of dogs and human being.

The human diploid cell vaccine is the latest for rabies

How to treatment rabies

For use in treating rabies, the human diploid cell vaccine (HDCV) is the latest, it replaces the 30 shots. Its use was authorized since 1980. Immunization for rabies consists of five HDCV shots injected in the muscles of the shoulder given at the time of exposure then after 3, 7, 14, and 28 days. Exposure means a bite or licking of a wound by a rabid dog, cat, bat, racoons, skunk, and fox.

It is uncommon for an animal, like dog, that had been vaccinated, to transmit rabies. The bitten victim should be observed for 10 days. If the animal acts normally there is no need for a vaccine. If the animal cannot be observed, then the five-shot vaccine should be given.

The HDCV is safe, even for an infant. No fatality has been reported. A side effect may be sore arm, headache and nausea. Sometimes, allergy or anaphylaxis or swelling of mouth or throat.

Treatment of children bitten by rabid animals are:

1. Wash the wound carefully with soap and water,.

2. Rabies immune globulin;

3. Give HDCV as outlined above.

Rabies if not treated kills.

Symptoms are indistinct fatigue, sore throat, fever, chills, headache and vomiting. After one week symptoms are hallucinations, disorientation, bizarre behavior, inability to swallow and hyperactivity.

Louis Pasteur, a French, developed the rabies vaccine. The first injection was done on a boy on July 6,1885.

Negri bodies

Rabies is a disease caused by virus. This virus infects the human cell, the smallest functional unit of the human body.

The favorite site of the rabies virus is the nerve cell. There are at least two sites in a cell where the virus resides, transcribes and multiplies. (These will be explained later on.)

The site in the cell is called Negri body (NB) named after Adelchi Negri who discovered it and described it first.

“…(Adelchi) described Negri bodies as round or oval inclusions within the cytoplasm of nerve cells of animals infected with rabies. Negri bodies may vary in size from 0.25 to 27 µm. They are found most frequently in the pyramidal cells of Ammon's horn, and the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. They are also found in the cells of the medulla and various other ganglia. Negri bodies can also be found in the neurons of the salivary glands, tongue, or other organs” (Internet. Dec. 29,2013).

NB can be stained to make it more visible under the microscope. “With these stains, Negri bodies appear magenta in color and have small (0.2 µm to 0.5 µm), dark-blue interior basophilic granules” (same source as above). µm is a unit of measure for very small particles that cannot be seen by optical microscope but whose structure can be constructed with the use of electron microscope.

Animals, like dog, bat, and mouse have Negri bodies. So they are also susceptible as habitats of rabies virus.

Rabies virus make a dog mad. Meaning the nerves of its brain, medulla, salivary glands and tongue are infected with rabies virus. This virus is transmitted by means of body fluids. That is why, a person bitten by a mad dog most likely becomes infected with rabies virus.

So the brain of a mad dog, or the brain or blood of infected person can be used to detect infection by rabies virus.

[I was once bitten by a puppy that died one day after it had bitten me. Death of a dog usually indicates that the dog was infected with rabies. I severed the head of the dog and had its brain examined for infection of its Negri bodies with rabies virus. If the test result showed positive it would have meant that I was infected with rabies virus by the puppy bite. Fortunately, the test result showed negative.]

The virus go to his/her Negri bodies and multiply there. The virus hijack the nerve cells such that the nerve cells will cease to be nerve cells but virtually rabies virus. That will result in death.

How rabies virus infects and multiplies

The rabies virus is classified as RNA virus. RNA means ribonucleic acid. There are two kinds of viurs: RNA virus and DNA virus. DNA means deoxyribonucleic acid.

RNA and DNA are heredity materials. They work in tandem. DNA contains the information code (like a house plan) for a multi-celled organism like dog, cat, human being. RNA is the messenger that carries the house plan to the carpenters who build the house. It means that RNA contains some part of the house plan but not completely.

Virus is neither living nor dead, according to the criteria we use in saying something is alive. A virus becomes alive when it enters a cell and when it is inside the host cell. It must attack a live cell to live and multiply.

A virus looks for a hole in the cell membrane of a live cell that fits its size and shape. Once it finds that hole it will use it to enter the cell. Inside the cell, in the Negri bodies, it will reconstruct DNA with the use of the DNA of the host cell. In fact, it hijacks the DNA of the host cell. Now the former RNA rabies virus has reconstructed its own DNA and proceeds to multiply or replicate. It doubles its population in every 20 minutes.

One failing of nerve cell is that it does not replace itself. It is unlike other cells that replace themselves. Blood cell replaces itself every 140 days. The nerve cell does not renew itself such that when existing nerve cells will have been hijacked by the rabies virus, no nerve cell is around to help coordinate the work of other organs of the body like heart, eyes, liver, kidney, and more. There will be more rabies virus than nerve cells. That lack of coordination will result in death of the person.

In fact, it is not necessary that all nerve cells had been hijacked by rabies virus to result in death. Only a high percentage of those nerve cells is enough to result in death.

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