Source: News24 (Extract)
August 24, 2021

Cape Town pet owners have been warned to be on extra alert for a possible rabies outbreak after two dogs in Khayelitsha tested positive for the virus.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services confirmed it had received laboratory results on Monday confirming rabies in the two dogs.

Investigations are currently under way to determine the source of the outbreak. According to Veterinary Services head Dr Gininda Msiza, rabies is a viral disease affecting animals and people.

“It is transmitted by saliva or other body fluids, and a dog or person can be infected by being bitten, scratched or licked by a rabid animal,” he said.

According to the Msiza, rabies is very easy to prevent by vaccinating dogs and cats.

Msiza said:

“If you suspect a dog has rabies, do not touch it and contact your nearest private or state veterinarian immediately,” he said.

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer confirmed that officials were vaccinating pets in Khayelitsha and affected areas this week in response to the two cases.

“Our Animal Health Technicians began vaccinating dogs and cats in the area on Monday. We are working closely with the welfare organisations and medical doctors to check on contacts and any people who may have been bitten and need treatment,” said Meyer.

If you suspect that you have had contact with a rabid animal, getting preventative treatment as soon as possible will save your life, he said.

Allan Perrins, of the Animal Welfare Society of SA, told News24 that these were the first confirmed cases in the Cape Metro since 1994.

“Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease. It is very important to vaccinate your pets against rabies. Its free.” he said. 

Animals and people could die from the disease if not treated immediately, and pet owners were encouraged to be vigilant and take their pets to their private veterinarian or animal welfare organisation to make sure their rabies vaccinations were up to date.

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