Rabies – South Africa

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At least five children, aged between two and and 10 years old, have died from human rabies in five months in KwaZulu-Natal.

One well documented case was available in a report. In January , a 10-year-old boy was bitten by a dog in Umbumbulu in November 2020. No medical consultation was sought until the child experienced nausea, vomiting, confusion and restlessness and died on January 7, 2021. Rabies virus antigen was detected in a post-mortem brain specimen, collected on January 12.

The deaths were from Umbumbulu, Mariannhill, uMlazi, KwaNyuswa and Adams Mission

Photo: Cat and dog playing.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. Early symptoms can include fever and tingling at the site of exposure. These symptoms are followed by one or more of the following symptoms: violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and ultimately loss of consciousness. Once symptoms appear, the result is nearly always death.

The time period between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms is usually one to three months, but can vary from less than one week to more than one year.

Rabies is present in more than 150 countries and on all continents but Antarctica. It is very important to have your pets vaccinated and avoid contact with wild animals.

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