Dr Anna Holmes
I first encountered rabies in Trincomalee, Ceylon, in 1947. The father of one of my friends at school died suddenly. I remember sitting quietly while the adults talked in hushed voices about “hydrophobia” and how “their throats close up when they want to drink”. The other thing they said was “The treatment is ten days of injections into the tummy”. I felt sad for my friend and her family, and anxious at the thought of ten injections – I loathed being stuck with needles. I was also upset that the puppy, which our mother had found for us, was sent away. In those days there was no immunisation for dogs.
Later, at medical school in Edinburgh, we were told about rabies and what a scourge it was in many parts of the world. The treatment was serial injections with immunoglobulin as soon as possible after infection.