By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In South Africa, approximately 10 human rabies cases are reported annually, largely as a result of exposure to rabid dogs.
Increases in the number of dog rabies cases in different locations of South Africa has been reported in 2021. Districts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces are hard hit. More than 150 dog rabies cases have been confirmed in the Eastern Cape, with at least 70 of those cases of rabies from Nelson Mandela Bay. In KwaZulu-Natal more than 200 cases of dog rabies have been reported for 2021 to date.
In August 2021, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services reported two cases of dog rabies from Khayelitsha in the City of Cape Town. This was the first report of rabies in dogs from the province in decades.
Rabies is not transmitted from human-to-human and each case is associated with a sick animal. It is clear that the vaccination of dogs (and to some extent, domestic cats) is the most important intervention to support rabies prevention and control efforts.
In South Africa’s state health care facilities, human rabies vaccines and immunoglobulin (post-exposure prophylaxis) are provided free of charge.