Watch for behavioural changes in the pet as its brain fills with virus.
DURBAN - THE recent rabies outbreak has caused panic among communities living in KwaZulu-Natal after three people succumbed to the deadly disease.

The latest victim was 49-year-old Dumisani Manzini, who died at his home in Vryheid on Wednesday.

KZN department of agriculture spokesperson Khayelihle Nkwanyana confirmed that at least three people have died from the disease - including two young children - since the beginning of the year.

“A toddler died earlier this month at the Hillcrest private hospital after he was bitten by a wandering cat near Blythedale Beach,” Nkwanyana disclosed.

He said there had been an upsurge in rabies- related incidents because of population increases in the province.

“It is quite fashionable in suburbs for people to keep pets such as cats, dogs and rabbits in their yards. They breed different types of dogs, which is not actually a problem, as long they do it within the parameters of the law,” he said.

But Nkwanyana urged animal lovers to get their pets vaccinated against rabies.

Veterinary services doctor Kevin le Roux said the outbreak started in the King Cetshwayo district (northern coast of KZN), spread south to the Ilembe District and into Durban.

“We have two cases of children having both dog and cat bites in some of these areas. Unfortunately and regrettably, these two cases have resulted in the loss of lives.

“The department has been on a vaccination drive since October which began in Ndwedwe in Durban and has proceeded to both the South and North Coast of the province, especially in rural areas.

“Our state vets are hard at work in this regard. While the department is doing all it can to cover the entire province in its vaccination drive, we are calling for the people of KwaZulu-Natal to take the necessary preventative measures,” Le Roux said.

Le Roux added that renewed efforts had begun to educate the public about the dangers of rabies.

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