Camel bites have been implicated in the deaths of two young girls in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra, according to a Radio Dabanga report. It is reported that the 12 and 17-year-old girls were bitten and crushed by the animals.

Dromedary camel Image/Video Screen Shot
Dromedary camel
Image/Video Screen Shot

This has prompted concern in the area about rabid animals. It is believed that the camels contracted the deadly virus from a rabid dog bite. One individual estimates that 250 camels have been infected.

Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases can pass between species. Bird flu and swine flu are other zoonotic diseases.

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. Sometimesthe 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.

Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.

More than 59,000 people globally die of rabies each year because they cannot get the care they need. That’s about 1 person dying of rabies every 9 minutes. Most of these deaths are in Africa and Asia, and nearly half of the victims are children under the age of 15.