Cape Town - The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reported that there have been five confirmed cases of rabies in humans in South Africa to date in 2019; three from the Eastern Cape Province and two from Limpopo Province. These have resulted in the deaths of two children.
Commenting on these rabies fatalities and cases, which were reported in the NICD’s latest Communicable Diseases Communiqué, Dr Pete Vincent of Netcare Travel Clinics and Medicross Tokai, said that they reiterate the importance of educating South Africans about this vaccine-preventable infectious disease, which is invariably fatal if it not managed and treated timeously and appropriately.
“If you consider that, according to the World Health Organization [WHO], rabies is still responsible for close on 60 000 deaths globally every year, most of them occurring in Africa and Asia, then our track record of rabies prevention here in South Africa looks relatively impressive,” adds Dr Vincent.
“Nevertheless, the threat of rabies, which is contracted from infected animals, is ever present, particularly in our rural areas where many pet dogs are not vaccinated against the virus. In addition, rabies is quite commonly reported among both wild and domestic animals in South Africa.”
The importance of awareness