Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has issued a rabies notice, warning communities in Gauteng about a potential outbreak of the disease in the West Rand.
According to the health institute, in June 2021, two rabies cases were confirmed in jackals from the Cradle of Humankind area. In addition, three jackals in the same area were suspected of rabies, but it is not verified.
The NICD now states, “In response, rabies vaccination campaigns in dogs have been underway in the affected and surrounding areas. During the week of the July 25th 2021, rabies was confirmed in a honey badger in the same area. Three human exposures to the honey badger were reported. It is reported that all three cases have received rabies post-exposure prophylaxis and wound care to prevent rabies infection.”
The national public health institute stresses that rabies is controllable and preventable. The disease is effectively controlled in domestic dogs through rabies vaccination.
With this in mind, the NICD says, “The public is urged to ensure that their dogs are fully vaccinated against rabies. Dogs that are not fully vaccinated for rabies are susceptible to infection.”
Campaigns in response to the cases mentioned above are ongoing in the affected area of Mogale City. If any animal is suspected of being rabid (including animals presenting with unusual behaviour, hyper-salivation, and signs of paralysis), contact your local or state veterinarian (Vet.email@example.com) for the animal to be investigated.
The NICD stresses that it is important not to approach or attempt to handle animals that are unknown to you. “The public should refrain from engaging in direct interactions with wildlife. Often, rabid wildlife may appear tame, and it may be tempting to feed or pet such animals,” the health institute adds.
All wounds must be washed thoroughly with soap and water when possible exposures in humans do occur (for example, through bites or scratches inflicted by a suspected rabid animal). It is then crucial that rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is sought immediately at a healthcare facility.
With this in mind, be sure to vaccinate your pets against rabies, ensuring their health comes to the forefront.