Type Telephone number: 9841056964 Total number of words:

Type of manuscript: research article Running title: awareness of hydrophobia among South Indian population B.SadhviUndergraduate studentSaveetha dental college, Saveetha University, Chennai, India.Mrs.

Jothipriyadepartment of physiology Saveetha Dental college, Saveetha university, chennai, India.Corresponding author Mrs.jothipriyaDepartment of physiology Saveetha Dental college, Saveetha University,162, Poonamallee High Road,Chennai 600077Tamil Nadu, India Email: [email protected] number: 9841056964Total number of words: 1659ABSTRACT AIM:    To check the awareness of hydrophobia among the South Indian population BACKGROUND :Hydrophobia is an older term for the disease rabies, and it means “fear of water.

” Because of this name, many people think that rabies makes one afraid of water. In fact, this is not the case (although rabies does cause mental confusion of other kinds). The name hydrophobia comes from the fact that animals and people with rabies get spasms in their throat muscles that are so painful that they cannot eat or drink, and so will refuse water in spite of being very thirsty.MATERIALS AND METHODS:         South Indian people of various age groups were chosen and a survey checking their knowledge on hydrophobia created using www.

surveyplanet.com and hence the results were obtained. About 131 people of various age groups were made to attempt the survey. And hence their awareness on hydrophobia were checked.           KEY WORDS:         Awareness, hydrophobia , survey, population.INTRODUCTION:     Hydrophobia , by itself is not a disease or a disorder but it is an extreme or irrational fear of water especially as a symptom of rabies in humans (1,3) .Rabies is a disease that is spread in humans from the saliva of infected animals.(4) It is a rare disease which is treatable by a medical professional and requires a medical diagnosis.

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(2) Rabies is a viral disease that basically causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. (6)The disease, if in initial stages lasts upto three months. But this time period can vary depending upon the intensity. The time is dependent on the distance the virus must travel along nerves to reach the central nervous system.

Usual measures to prevent this disorder includes rabies vaccine, animal control, rabies immunoglobulin etc.(2,9,14,20)         There is actually one more disorder that is similar to hydrophobia called as aqua phobia. But both the conditions are not the same (6); hydrophobia is the term used to represent the fear of water developed in the later stage of rabies(22,18). Aquaphobia, on the  other hand is a social phobia that is defined as the persistent unwarranted fear of water. It is completely a psychological disorder.(12)         The rabies patients having hydrophobia may have an elevated heart rate, shivering, freezing, sweating, hyperventilation, anxiety and panic attacks with the sight or thought of water.(7) Extreme evasion of water bodies might make the disease more severe and may extend the time taken to cure this dreadful virus disease.

(19)The affected individuals might have heavy feelings such as feeling of drowning on seeing the sea, or fear while swimming etc.(21) this disorder further adds on to the sufferers of rabies virus.(4,5)This disorder basically takes its origin from the psychological disorder “panic attack”. This disorder causes abnormal fear of water in patients that they start avoiding each and every situation in which an amount of water is involved.

(11)RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:Rabies causes hydrophobia in the encephalitic stage which means when it affects the brain and causes swelling and inflammation of multiple areas of the brain.(26) Hence, it affects the complex swallowing areas in the brain. Initially into the course of the disease, the patient has involuntary contractions of neck muscles when he drinks water.(13,12) At later stages of disease, the patient starts contracting his muscles even at the thought of water.

Rabies virus is a neurotropic virus which means that it travels through nerves because of its preference to attach to acetylcholine receptors in the neurons.(6) That is how the virus spreads from the bite site to the brain.starts off with difficulty swallowing water, progressing on to fear of water just on mentioning it. I guess it affects the center of the brain subserving fear.(3) Why fear to water specifically, I do not know the answer(8). As a clinician, it doesn’t bother much because it has no therapeutic implications. It only serves to as a marker to suspect rabies.

(25) There are many things in medicine which haven’t or cannot be explained by reasoning but have shown to be significantly(statistically) associated.(8)From the survey, we come to know that 70.9% of the participants are already aware that a disorder called hydrophobia exists and the remaining 29.1% are unaware about it. One of the most important symptom the hydrophobic patients have is the fear of drowning or being submerged on seeing an irrational amount of water.(9). From the survey,40.9% of the participants claim that they do have fear on seeing an irrational amount of water.

But this, might be the general or social fear of water and not the one which is caused due to rabies virus. Further, when the participants were asked if they think hydrophobia is a mental disorder, the answer obtained was a mixed one. 18.

2% participants said yes, 30% of the participants said no and 41.8%of the population gave the option “maybe”. This shows that the population is not much aware about the causes and consequences of hydrophobia and hence the rabies virus. when the participants were asked if they had come across hydrophobic patients in their surroundings/ locality, 35.5% of the population said yes and the remaining 64.

5% of the population said no. From this, we can say that hydrophobia and thereby rabies disease is pretty rare in occurrence as many of them have not observed rabies or hydrophobic patients in their surroundings or locality. Most importantly, when the participants were asked if they know rabies causes hydrophobia, 68.8% of the population said no and the remaining 31.2% of the population said yes. As many of the participants have claimed no, we can say that most of the population are not aware that the disease is mainly due to rabies virus and not just a social fear or psychological disorder.

Further, when the participants were asked if they were aware that the virus spreads through the bite of an infected animal such as dogs, bats etc, 88.2% of the participants said yes and the remaining 11.8% of the population have said no. This shows that most of them are aware about the spread/ transmission of rabies virus. When asked if they think hydrophobia is a serious illness, 75.2% of the population said yes and the remaining 24.

8% of the population said no. Water is the most essential requirement for all the human beings on earth and the disorder of “fear of water” itself makes people think that it is a serious illness. Hence most of the people are aware of the intensity of this disorder.further, when asked if the participants feel it has adverse effects on both physical and mental health, most of them, that is, 81.8% of the population claimed yes and the remaining 18.

2% of the population said no. This shows that most of them are aware about the consequences of this disorder.Questions ResponseNumberPercentage 1. Have you heard of the disorder hydrophobia before?1.


Have you ever had the fear of drowning or being submerged on seeing an irrational amount of water?1.yes2.no565450.949.13. Do you avoid any and all situations in which a body of water is involved?1.yes2.no268323.

976.14.do you think hydrophobia is a mental disorder?1.yes2.no3. Maybe31334628.

23041.85.have you come across a person who is suffering from hydrophobia in your surroundings?1.yes2.no397135.564.56.

if yes, have you observed the symptoms they face?1.yes2.no268224.175.97.are you aware that rabies disease causes hydrophobia?1.yes2.


do you know rabies virus can spread through the bite of an infected animal?1.yes2.no971388.211.89.do you think it is a serious or fatal illness?1.yes2.

no822775.224.810. Do you think it might have adverse effects on physical and mental health?1.yes2.no902081.818.211.

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