The Rabies Vaccine

The Chicago Sun Times recently published an article about a Lake County, Illinois man who was bitten by a rabid bat on September 29, 2021. Thomas Knob, 87 of Spring Grove, Illinois woke up with a bat on his neck. The bat was tested and found to be rabid. Knob refused medical treatment and later died of rabies. Rabies can be cured after an attack and before symptoms of aggressive behavior, frothing at the mouth, hallucinations, and paralysis begin.

The viral disease spreads by way of nerve cells, the spinal cord, and then to the brain. Once the symptoms have shown themselves, the vaccine is most likely too late to save the victim. Any bite from an animal is very serious and precautions need to be taken. The disease is extremely deadly and painful so the shot regimen should begin soon after one is bitten or scratched by a wild life animal. Most dog bites do not contain the rabies virus because of modern veterinary medicine but precautions should still be taken.

Dr. Louis Pasteur was able to use the actual rabies virus in making the vaccination for the disease. Each day a rabies victim receives a little stronger dose of the rabies virus for two weeks. Finally on the last day, the patient gets the most potent injection. In my historical novel, THE ADVENTURES OF FRANCIE FITZGERALD, Francie’s brother, Austin, and his friends are attacked by a rabid dog in their neighborhood. After taking a ship to France, the boys receive the life saving serum by Dr. Louis Pasteur in Paris.

Vaccinations actually save lives. Livestock are given Anthrax vaccines to prevent mad cow disease. Children receive vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella. If you are traveling to Africa or South America, you most likely will receive a vaccine for yellow fever ten days before you depart. Vaccines are miracles of modern medicine. To quote Dr. Pasteur, “Scientific Discovery knows no country. Its knowledge is for humanity and is the torch which illuminates the world.” February, 1865

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