Tuesday, January 3, 2012

THE WOMAN WHO BARKED


I heard her from afar - a loud, frightened and erratic babble; another psychiatric case I presumed.

I did not expect to see the timid, scared and shaking lady who finally appeared before me.

"Please turn it off, please turn it off!" She pleaded, visibly agitated and scared - the source of her fear being the airconditioning. Her fear was so palpable that I had to turn the airconditioning off.

Further history revealed she had developed episodes of "barking" like a dog. She also had a morbid fear of drinking water.

Was she mad? Definitely not. Her only offence was that she was bitten by a mad dog.

The dog died immediately  after biting her. She was not mad, she was only exhibiting the symptoms of rabies.

SYMPTOMS OF RABIES

Aerophagia

- This is the fear of air.

Hydrophobia

- fear of water due to spasms of muscles at the back of the throat.

Anxiety and depression

invariably develop.

A TOUCHING QUESTION
"Doctor am I going to die?" She asked me.

What reply could I give? Would it have benefitted her to know that once rabies is established, it is invariably fatal? or that statistics say only 2 recorded cases have ever survived?

PREVENTION OF RABIES
1. Get your dogs vaccinated.
2. When bitten by a dog, report immediately to the ER. Also, enquire if the dog was vaccinated. You may be given anti rabies.
3. If bitten, monitor the dog afterwards for unusual behaviour.
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