The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported a confirmed case of human rabies in Limpopo Province in December 2022.
The case involved an 8-year-old boy from Mbokota Village, Makhado Municipality, Vhembe District.
He was admitted to hospital with a fever, confusion, delirium, trouble breathing and hemiplegia. On examination, in addition to the above, the child had oral ulcers and thrush, a septic swelling of the lower lip, swelling around the eyes with associated discharge and discharge from his ears. Signs of mild cerebral edema were noted.
A reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detected rabies virus RNA in an ante-mortem saliva sample that was collected. The details of possible dogbite exposure are still unknown.
As of 13 December 2022 a total of 13 laboratory confirmed human rabies cases were reported from South Africa. These cases were from the Eastern Cape (n=7), Limpopo (n=4, including the case reported here) and KwaZulu-Natal (n=2) provinces. A further six probable cases were identified (i.e. clinically and epidemiologically in keeping with the diagnosis of rabies, but without laboratory confirmation). These cases were reported from Eastern Cape Province (n=5) and KwaZulu-Natal Province (n=1).