SOUTH AFRICAN AUTHORITIES WARN OF RABIES RISK: ‘A PERSON DYING OF RABIES IS AN UNNECESSARY DEATH’

Source:  Outbreak News Today (Extract)
Posted:  February 13 2021

In South Africa this week, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) alerted the public of the risks associated with rabies.

Since the beginning of the year, the number of confirmed rabies cases are thirty-three in animals.

“A person dying of rabies is an unnecessary death,” says Dr Nomsa Mnisi, Vice President of the SAVC, “the disease is preventable purely by vaccinating animals, we therefore should not be seeing people, especially the most vulnerable like children, dying.”

“It is the responsibility of each pet owner, in terms of the Animal Diseases Act, to ensure that
their pets are vaccinated against rabies. By doing this, you will not only be protecting your beloved animals, but you will also be playing your part in the bigger picture; protecting the lives of fellow human beings, especially children,” said Dr Mpho Maja.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects all mammals, and is transmissible from animals to humans. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals through licks, scratches and bites. Dog mediated rabies in humans is fully preventable and this is why the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have committed to eradicate dog mediated human cases by 2030.

Rabies occurs in domestic and wild animals across South Africa; DALRRD and SAVC encourage communities not to touch or pick up unknown or stray animals, especially dogs and cats.

Report any rabies symptoms in animals immediately to your nearest State Veterinary Office and notify them of any possible human contact with suspect rabid animals. Humans that have had contact (lick, scratch, bite) with a suspect rabid animal must wash the wound well with soap under running water and immediately seek medical assistance to receive preventative treatment. This is of utmost importance because post exposure treatment must start immediately to prevent infection from rabies.

The DALRRD in collaboration with SAVC appeals to all dog and cat owners to ensure that their animals are vaccinated against rabies.

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