NICD confirms five cases of rabies

FIVE cases of rabies have been confirmed in South Africa since December 2017, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said last week.

The cases were recorded in patients from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and two patients in KwaZulu-Natal.

The six cases involved exposures to rabid domestic dogs in three of the cases and domestic cats in three of the cases.

The institute said rabies in humans can be prevented through post-exposure prophylaxis.

“When a possible exposure occurs it is important to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and present to a healthcare facility for a rabies risk assessment as soon as possible,” it said.

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Treatment following exposure

  • Treatment includes a series of rabies vaccinations and the administration of rabies immunoglobulin.
  • Wound treatment, including washing and disinfection of the wounds, a tetanus booster vaccination and possibly antibiotic treatment depending on the nature of the exposure will also be provided at the healthcare facility.
  • While the six cases involved rabid cats and dogs, other animals may also become infected with the rabies virus and transmit the virus to humans. The NICD said such reports are less common.
  • The rabies virus is present in the saliva of the affected animal and may be transmitted to humans through bites, scratches or other wounds that break the skin and allow the infected saliva to enter the body.
  • Rabies can be controlled in animals through the rabies vaccination.

 

 

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