NICD warns of dramatic rise in rabies cases in KZN

NICD warns of dramatic rise in rabies cases in KZN

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says there's been a drastic rise in the number of canine rabies cases in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

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It says the disease has claimed the lives of 11 people in the three provinces since the beginning of the year.

Three of the fatalities, all involving children, occurred in the past month.

One of the latest victims was a two-year-old boy from Empangeni.

Medical scientist at the NICD, Dr Jacqueline Weyer, says most of the cases have been in contact with rabid dogs.

She says there are several signs that could indicate possible rabies in pets.

"A change of behaviour, they are often hyperventilating, they often foam from the mouth and they deteriorate quite rapidly.

"Animals and humans do not long for a period from this disease, usually by two weeks from the onset of illness until death. So there's really a rapid deterioration and usually a change in behaviour. 

In such cases, contact your state veterinarian or if you got access to a private veterinarian, contact them and ask them how to proceed with the animal."

Dr Weyer has stressed the importance of vaccinating dogs and cats, especially in the areas that are affected.

She says should a person come into contact with a rabid animal, they should wash out the wound with soap and water and seek medical help immediately. 


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