South Africa health officials reported the first human rabies case of 2022. Rabies was confirmed in a four-year-old child from the Eastern Cape Province.
The child was bitten on the lip on 1 December 2021 by a dog she was playing with. The incident took place near her home in Gqerberha. No rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) was sought.
A month later, the child was admitted to hospital with fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, anorexia, sleeplessness, anxiety, confusion, delirium, seizures, agitation, localized pain/paresthesia, autonomic instability, hypersalivation and hydrophobia.
In addition, a case was confirmed as a patient who contracted the disease in Lusaka, Zambia but was hospitalized and died in Johannesburg. The 58-year-old man from Zambia was bitten on the arm by a suspected rabid dog in November 2021 in his home on the outskirts of Lusaka. The dog was killed and buried without any rabies tests being conducted.
The patient reportedly received tetanus booster vaccination and rabies vaccine. Since the patient suffered a category III exposure, the administration of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) was also required. The RIG was reportedly not available locally and had to be sourced from India, resulting in a six-day delay in administration.
In late December 2021, the patient was hospitalized in Lusaka with spasms, fits, autonomic nervous system instability and generalized pain. He was evacuated to South Africa, where he was hospitalized in Johannesburg in early January 2022.
During 2021, a total of 19 confirmed human rabies cases was reported from Eastern Cape (n=9), KwaZulu-Natal (n= 6) and Limpopo (n=4) provinces.
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