Sharp increase in Human Rabies Cases in South Africa

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - In October and November alone, six more cases of human rabies have been confirmed in the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo.

In addition, several suspected cases from these areas are currently under investigation, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said.

Four more cases have been recorded in the Eastern Cape and one each in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo.

This brings the total to 17 laboratory-confirmed human rabies cases reported so far this year. Although cases are reported annually in South Africa, the occurrence of cases in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo has increased compared to previous years.

Eight laboratory-confirmed cases were recorded for 2020, 10 for 2019, 16 for 2018, six for 2017 and one for 2016.

“The increased number of human cases is related to outbreaks of rabies in domestic dogs in the affected provinces,” the NICD said.

In the Eastern Cape, particularly the Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City districts, more than 400 cases of rabies in dogs have been confirmed as of November 18 this year.

In KwaZulu Natal, the eThekwini and King Cetshwayo districts have been most affected with nearly 300 cases of rabies in dogs reported up to 18 November.

"The first occurrence of dog rabies cases in the Cape Town surrounds in decades have also been reported in recent months. A total of four dog cases were reported from Khayelitsha and Gordon’s Bay. No additional cases have been reported since mid-October 2021. "

To date however, no human rabies cases have been reported from the Western Cape.

Cape Times

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