South African health officials report in the last month, two cases of rabies were reported in two children
from the Eastern Cape province of which one was confirmed by post mortem brain biopsy and direct fluorescent antibody testing. The cases are from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the OR Tambo District.
As of 25 August, 2022, South Africa reported ten laboratory-confirmed rabies cases, including five from the Eastern Cape province, Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (n=5); three from Limpopo province, Mopani (n=2) and Vhembe (n=1) districts; and two from KwaZuluNatal province, eThekwini municipality (n=1) and iLembe district (n=1).
Furthermore, five deaths from probable rabies have been reported from the Eastern Cape Province’s OR Tambo (n=4) and Amathole (n=1) districts, respectively.
Once clinical symptoms start to manifest, rabies is a fatal viral illness for both humans and animals. However, vaccination and increased awareness of people at risk can completely prevent rabies. Since the
majority of cases are in dogs and result from dog bites, rabies can be effectively controlled through mass vaccination of dogs and cats using the One Health strategy. To prevent human cases, the World Health Organization recommends a coverage rate of 70% for dogs. It is still possible to stop rabies in humans with adequate and prompt postexposure prophylaxis, which includes thorough wound cleaning with soap and water, the rabies vaccine, and rabies immunoglobulin, all of which must be given on the same day as the exposure to the saliva of an unknown suspicious dog, cat, or wild animal.
Although rabies can be prevented by vaccination, South Africa has been unable to stop continuous outbreaks in some areas of the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, and KwaZulu-Natal. The Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo provinces are the four known source areas of canine rabies.
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