At least 113 human rabies cases were recorded in Angola’s Luanda province through Nov. 2016, according to the head of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the municipality of Cacuaco, José Castro (computer translated).

Close-up of a dog's face during late-stage "dumb" paralytic rabies/CDC
Close-up of a dog’s face during late-stage “dumb” paralytic rabies/CDC

Twenty-four of the deaths were recorded in the municipality of Cacuaco, following the bite of animals, mainly dogs, and where children were the main victims.

According to Castro, an anti-rabies vaccination campaign would take place from January 20 to February 3 to immunize dogs, monkeys and cats. Some 300,000 animals are to be vaccinated in Luanda province.

LISTEN: Rabies: A comprehensive interview with Pamela Wilson

According to the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are the likely suspects. Other animals like otters and ferrets are also high risk. Mammals like rabbits, squirrels, rodents and opossums are rarely infected.

Rabies infected animals can appear very aggressive, attacking for no reason. Some may act very tame. They may look like they are foaming at the mouth or drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva. Sometimes the animal may stagger (this can also be seen in distemper). Not long after this point they will die. Most animals can transmit rabies days before showing symptoms.

Initially, like in many diseases, the symptoms of rabies are non-specific; fever, headache and malaise. This may last several days. At the site of the bite, there may be some pain and discomfort. Symptoms then progress to more severe: confusion, delirium, abnormal behavior and hallucinations. If it gets this far, the disease is nearly 100% fatal.

Worldwide, it is estimated that there are more than 69,000 deaths due to rabies annually.