Rabies vaccinations to roll out soon in Estcourt

Rabies vaccinations are expected to be rolled out in Estcourt and surrounding areas in May, June and July.

In the past four months, seven cases of rabies in humans have been reported in South Africa. The recent rabies outbreak has caused panic among communities living in KwaZulu-Natal after four human deaths.

The fourth rabies death in the province has been confirmed by the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

ALSO SEE: Update on the rabies situation within the Midlands

What is Rabies?

Rabies is defined as a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals.
Rabies is transmitted most often by being bitten or scratched by an infected animal, however in rare cases it can even come from being licked by an infected animal.

Rabies is a 100 percent preventable disease if treated within 24-hours.
In South Africa, it is law that pets are vaccinated against rabies and as a pet parent it is your responsibility to ensure this.

What you need to know about keeping your family and pets safe

• Cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at the age of three months and then receive a booster one to nine months later. Thereafter they should receive the vaccination annually.

• If you suspect that you have been infected, you should immediately flush and wash the wound for at least 15 minutes with warm water and disinfectant, thereafter seek immediate medical attention.

• Warn your children of the risks of interacting with strays and pets that are not their own.

• Don’t wait for the symptoms present themselves, if bitten or scratched seek treatment.

• Ensure your pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date.

ALSO READ: Jackal Rabies is a new threat in KZN

• Do not let your pets roam the streets.

• Do not let your pets interact with unknown animals – an animal can become infected by fighting with another animal, even over a fence.

• Do not approach stray dogs or cats (or wild animals), especially if they are showing abnormal behaviour such as being aggressive.

• If you suspect an animal is infected contact the health authorities immediately. Do not try to restrain the animal yourself.

Pet owners are also urged to support the annual awareness and vaccination campaigns hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (State Veterinary Services) to eradicate the spike of rabies in the province.

In May, June and July the local veterinary team will roll out rabies vaccinations in communities in Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality and in August, September and October they will visit the UKhahlamba Municipality.
Exact dates, venues and times will be published when received.

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  AUTHOR
Danielle Greaves
Journalist

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