October 24, 2021

Taylor Daily Press

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Jim lost his father to rabies: 'I don't want the same thing to happen to people'

Jim lost his father to rabies: ‘I don’t want the same thing to happen to people’

When his father returned to Holland, Jim knew nothing. The wound was not mentioned. His father went to work as if nothing had happened. “He never said anything about her.”

Pajamas in the car

So Jim wasn’t aware of any damage either. Until the afternoon in June, when his father, as usual, was taking his mother (a flight attendant) from Schiphol. His mother seemed surprised when she suddenly saw her husband in pajamas behind the wheel. “He was sweating a lot, had muscle aches and wasn’t able to focus on the road very well,” Jim says.

rabies in the netherlands

Rabies, also known as rabies, is caused by a virus. You can become infected through a bite, scratch, or lick from an infected animal. In many cases, the infection is fatal.

Worldwide, about 50,000 people die from the disease each year. However, the disease is rare in the Netherlands. In the past 40 years, five people have died of rabies in the Netherlands. All of these patients were infected abroad. In Western Europe, a less contagious type of rabies virus is often found in bats. It rarely infects humans.

Rabies can be treated at an early stage, that is, as soon as possible after a possible infection. Treatment consists of giving a specific antigen and additional vaccinations. This preventative treatment can only be given before a person has symptoms. Untreated rabies infection is almost always fatal.

Source: RIVM

Jim was 16 years old at the time. The doctor told him that the chances of survival were zero. He saw his father sitting depressed. “It was a huge shock.”

Symptoms are worse

In the days that followed, his father’s condition rapidly deteriorated. Symptoms continued to worsen. His father was very afraid of water. “If I want to tap on a glass of water, it feels horrible. I had to turn off the tap immediately.” His father also saw crickets on the wall and other animals on the floor.

The whole disease process was a stressful period for the family. Doctors told his father to fall into an artificial coma as soon as possible. “In all of history, the girl survived because of it,” Jim says.

He has a brother and sister who studied in Hong Kong. His father said, “I will not go into a coma until I see my daughter again.”

unreal situation

They said goodbye with the whole family. It was a “very unrealistic situation” for Jim. “He went to all of us and told us what he loves.” “It’s the last half hour,” says Jim, to keep things nice. A deadline has been set for them until 12 noon. “My mom got angry after that, but she also had to laugh again. That’s what I mean by unrealistic.”

His father died three weeks later. “The last weeks in intensive care have had ups and downs,” Jim told me. He found the reactions on social media particularly challenging. “People who said my dad was the ‘infected dog’ or ‘he should have just been vaccinated. This is very painful “.

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But he also remembers the happy moments, such as the many friends of his father who visited the hospital. “Who do we have lunch with in the yard?”

To be noticed

After the death of his father, the question began to arise as to why he felt so little interest in the disease. He had the idea that it was never discussed in Holland. “I don’t want people to feel the same as my father. There is a need for more brand awareness of this disease.”

That’s why the Berlin Marathon will be held on September 26, in collect money. World Rabies Day falls in two days.

At the same time, he wants to draw attention to the consequences that can arise for the family if a loved one is in the intensive care unit. “Three years after my father’s death, I broke down. That period had a huge impact on me. I think it’s important to provide better care after my father’s death, but that still doesn’t exist at the moment.”